Jamie Oliver Fights Back Against Los Angeles School District
January 18, 2011 | By
Reposted with permission.
Change.org recently brought you news that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) refuses to participate with Jamie Oliver’s television show, Food Revolution. The schools won’t let Oliver film in their cafeterias, nor will they allow the sustainable chef to make some much-needed improvements to their lunchtime fare. If LAUSD gets its way, it looks like the revolution won’t, in fact, be televised.
Oliver isn’t giving up. Yesterday, the chef held “a bit of a rally,” reports the Los Angeles Times. Oliver invited parents to Jamie’s Kitchen, his kitchen classroom recently built in L.A.‘s Westwood neighborhood, which will also serve as one of the main production sets for the second season of Food Revolution. Parents were encouraged to show up at Jamie’s Kitchen so that Oliver could “listen to their problems.” Oliver even encouraged parents to organize and sign up to help petition LAUSD to allow him inside L.A.‘s school cafeterias.
Parents will likely be more than willing to offer Oliver their support. School cafeterias like those in L.A. traditionally serve up some pretty gross, unhealthy fare (think greasy pizza with a side of soggy french fries). School meals rarely feature fresh ingredients, and most come pre-packaged and frozen and are merely heated up by cafeteria employees. Children consume 30 to 50 percent of their calories while they’re at school, so these unhealthy vittles are a big reason why one-third of America’s kids weigh in as overweight or obese.
Oliver knows this firsthand through his work in Huntington, W.V. during the first season of Food Revolution. The show focused on how this largely unhealthy community could come together to produce and consume more nutritious, sustainable fare. School lunch was a big part of that, and now, many of Huntington’s school cafeterias are whipping up lunches from scratch using fresh, healthy ingredients. L.A.‘s lunch rooms could experience a similar transformation — if LAUSD didn’t forbid it.
Some L.A. students already expressed displeasure with LAUSD’s decision to block Oliver from filming inside schools. As Change.org previously reported, students said LAUSD’s ruling was “selfish,” and that school board members should have asked students and parents how they felt about the issue before locking Oliver out of cafeterias.
Students, parents, and all sustainable foodies still have a chance to tell the school board how they feel. Oliver is encouraging grassroots organizing to push LAUSD to reverse its decision about Food Revolution in the city’s cafeterias. Folks can write letters to individual school board members (click here for contact information) asking the school board to let Oliver film inside L.A.‘s schools.
This season of Food Revolution is already underway. Let’s make sure L.A. schools — and its students — don’t get left behind.