by Local Matters
Local Matters is a Columbus, OH based organization working to transform the food system in Central Ohio to make healthy fresh food accessible to all. Our work is designed to end childhood obesity and food deserts.
We teach a comprehensive 28-week healthy food curriculum in elementary schools and head start preschools around the region - currently serving 900 children every week with agreements in place to expand to over 3000. We consult to school administrations about cafeteria transitions in support of the Farm to School model.
We design and build school gardens and outdoor learning environments. We are piloting a 28-week science curriculum that demonstrates the ecological side of growing food for elementary school children.
We work with parents and teachers facilitating Healthy Living Groups to ensure that the adults that come into contact with the kids have the knowledge and desire to support healthy options in the school and at home.
We operate a Veggie Van program that is a distribution tool for fresh local produce serving food deserts throughout Central Ohio. The Veggie Van sets up mobile farm markets, and plans to be a delivery vehicle to bring fresh food into corner stores and provide additional food for community-run urban farm stands soon.
We consult to urban agriculture projects and gardens and help coordinate their efforts for maximum impact.
We work with farmers to identify barriers to expanding the production of locally-grown food and to plan which crops can be grown at costs that make them affordable for lower income communities.
We maintain an online local food guide which identifies grocers, restaurants, CSAs, you-pick farms, food festivals, and community gardens that are working to make local food available to the community.
Through our partner The Greener Grocer, a social enterprise produce stand in Columbus' Historic North Market we reach thousands of customers in search of locally grown fresh foods.
See Local-Matters.org for more.
I've been trying to approach the issue on a few different fronts. From my own home, I started out by not giving my daughter baby food! She always got fresh fruits and veggies, came shopping with us and was involved in cooking food. I was so glad when I played her the video preview of the show she recognized most of the veggies (Not the eggplant!) that you were showing. She is a great eater. But of course school lunches are another matter.
I got involved with the slow food movement as a blogger and started working on the Time for Lunch campaign (pushing our Government to put more money for the Child Nutrition Act, more farm to school programs and higher nutritional standards and to get the junk food out!) last year. I tried to get local people involved, wrote about it, etc. and boy what a battle! I finally am now on the board of my local Slow Food Chapter and my first event was an amazing presentation by Ann Cooper about what we can do to change school lunches. The turn out was disappointing to say the least. Orange County, ca has great weather and access to healthy food year round, you would think we would ant these kinds of changes. But the motivation is not there and with a State in the fiscal crisis its in, it's hard. I live in a strange political area as well.
So I want to keep pushing for our Local Slow Food chapter to do more Time for School events to push better legislation, to do work shops on how we can affect local change for our schools under the current funding, write more and to also educate people on local agriculture and hopefully push for more community gardens as well. It's all tied together. Important issues would include cooking classes for frazzled families to show them that healthy meals don't have to be hard! Insuring access to healthy food in areas where they may not have access (food oasis).
There are just so many issues. But I want to work on them all locally and continue to work by blogging Nationally (Daily Kos) and talking about these issues and their impact on our environment as well and health of our kids (pesticides, fertilizers, BPA's, water privatization issues with bottled water, SO MANY issues! Water issues to with growing our food.)
We have to address the issue that a small number of corporations dictate what and how we eat. It's all connected and it all comes down to educating people.
Thank you so much Jamie for helping in this battle. Every kid deserves good food,a healthy environment and a chance to thrive. With 49 million Americans going hungry in 2008, we know there is a food issue. With our kids having shorter life expectancy than their parents, there is something wrong. We have to fix it.
I opened a restaurant called Grandma Leeth's in Portland, OR, almost 3 years ago, during the worst economic crisis facing our generation. It began with an idea to bring communities and families together by caring for young children, so the exhausted adults responsible for them can get a break. Because most social human gatherings seem to ironically evolve into a partaking of food and drink, out of this idea, grew a restaurant...An odd restaurant at that. I am not a chef, so I leaned towards what I knew already: My own small,very well-traveled family resembles an advertisement for the United Colors of Benetton, as does the food that comes from our kitchens; I've 2 young children in my life; I have family members with genetically-determined cholesterol and diabetes problems, so I'm constantly substituting ingredients; I've lived in 4 continents; and I'm a big fan of your Naked Food movement.
With Grandma Leeth's Restaurant, I wanted to raise diners' expectations about what family dining ought to be and what should be expected from the current, rather appalling category of Family Restaurants.
In our main restaurant, we offer a menu of World Comfort Food, featuring food from the home kitchens of twelve different countries. In our children's restaurant, that features fully supervised play and meals for under 10 year olds while parents dine with us, we feature an extensive, healthy menu for children.
While our option of child supervision has been extremely well-received,and our healthy, eclectic menu certainly has its share of followers, we are still routinely criticized for our healthy approach. There is no shortage of online reviews, emails, and visits from perfectly grown-up people who throw the equivalent of a childish tantrum when they find out we don't have sodas, we don't have a deep fat fryer, and that we cut the sugar, salt and fat. For 3 years I've been stunned by the fairly constant need to apologize to irate guests who want a soda or french fries and to cajole guests into giving the idea up for an hour, so that children will not have the option of sodas and deep-fried food at Grandma Leeth's Restaurant.
As for the children, I haven't seen an under 10 year old throw a tantrum yet over our healthy food or beverages. Each time I've heard a parent utter the equivalent of, "My daughter won't eat anything but fries" or "My son only drinks soda", I say I will take that bet with a money-back guarantee, and I've not been wrong yet. When a child is presented with choices of apple juice, homemade lemonade, milk or water, they pick from the available options. Presenting the children with food in smaller, more attractive portions, yet having the option of unlimited pasta, fruit, and vegetables seems to have the desired effect: Our young guests do remarkably well with their meal, while learning important social cues, in a space designed for them.
I am an ardent supporter. Thank you, Jamie, for the idea of Naked Food, which is at the heart of why we are successful, and thank you now for the Food Revolution.
I will do my part to grow my small part of the world with the right set of investors and partners so we are true to the brand and its vision. I will continue to challenge families and family dining habits that are hard, but so important to break - both by our actions, and with what has become our mantra: Raise Your Expectations.
Fight on, dear Jamie,
Grandma Leeth's Restaurant
I am a small farmer who has been sustainably farming in the Midwest of the USA for over 15 years. I sell direct to my customers a wide variety of fresh whole fruits and vegetables and over the years I have educated literally thousands of people about healthy eating.
My farm Boulder Belt Eco-Farm, has the mission of reconnecting eaters with the land. We do this via farm tours, our Farm Share Initiative (Like a CSA only more so) and a lot of face to face talking about what we do (growing sublime whole foods).
Among other things, I have helped to start several farmers markets, by far, the most successful is the Oxford Farmers Market. This market is all about educating the public about food and farms. We have the weekly "Chef at Market" series of cooking Demos. As well as the Sprouts program which teaches kids about food and farms (you will find all the Sprout kids know the difference between a potato and a tomato and can tell you what they are in English and Spanish!)
I come to farming via fine dinning. For years I worked in a variety of kitchens starting as a dishwasher and working up to kitchen manager. The kitchens i worked in all bought as much locally raised whole foods as possible and did most cooking from scratch. when i went off on my own I too cooked from scratch and used locally raised foods long before it was popular or we knew what a locavore was. The most eye opening job was managing a fraternity kitchen. I cooked for 75 young men, none of which had ever had much whole food. Most were used to a diet of processed foods and many did not like the fact I was cooking from scratch. After a year and a half I made a bit of headway but not much.
After the fraternity job I turned to farming and have not looked back. And I have, over the years, convinced a lot of people that lettuce is not just good for you but a tasty thing to eat. I know it's a drop in the bucket but it is a start.
Lucy Goodman, Boulder Belt Eco-Farm, Eaton, OH
Dear Jamie Oliver & Staff,
I live in the Huntington, WV, area and just wanted you to know (with regard to the Food Revolution) I'm on board! I am supporting the efforts of people like Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. John McDougall, journalist Michael Pollan, First Lady Michelle Obama, and last, but not least, Celeberty Chef Jamie Oliver!
I've been supporting Jamie on my personal facebook page and in this group:
"I bet we can find 1,000,000 people who hate the Standard American Diet!"
"We hate the Standard American Diet and intend to do everything in our power to alert people to its dangers and to support the Food Revolution that is already underway! You can help by joining this Facebook group and inviting your friends to join, too! Together, I bet we can find 1,000,000 people who hate the Standard American Diet!"
I donated $25.00 to Jamie's efforts and also offered (through an online submission form) to volunteer in some way in the Huntington, WV area (have not heard from anyone). I have a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the eCornell and The T. Colin Campbell Foundation and I am certified as a" Nutritional Education Traine"r through Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Nutritional Education Institute. Jamie can help me by publicizing the facebook group mentioned above and by letting me know how I can be of assistance in Huntington and vicinity!
In our household, I do most of the shopping and cooking and prepare predominantly whole-foods, plant-based meals, featuring lots of beans & greens, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, whole grains, cruciferous vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, fresh fruit, etc. It pains me to see the expanding sizes of waist-lines, wheel-chairs, shopping carts, and caskets! Please keep up the good work and let me know how I can be of assistance!
WayneFerguson (dot) Com
I'm starting my food revolution by cooking at home healthy food without MSG and other addictive additives. Kids don't like it at first just like the ones in school that wouldn't eat anything but pizza. Food tastes nasty to kids when there's no MSG in it. After a while when the kids friends come over and they eat fruits, and freshly prepared meals, they like it. They go home and tell their parents. The parents call me and ask how I got their kids to eat healthy foods. I just fed it to my kids and while my kids were yumming it up, they tried it and eventually really started to enjoy it ! Kids can cook, and they can make great meals. My 5 year old cuts up fruit with a butter knife and makes fruit salads of which she is so very proud!
I am very glad that this revolution is growing.
I am so impressed by your passion and dedication to helping our children. I LOVE your show and understand the battles you face in trying to bring good nutrition into the schools. I am the mother of 4 young girls and recently went through a life changeing experience with food and have bocome dedicated to changing the way we look at food. I founded a Non-Profit Organization, Get Real Get Raw, dedicated to promoting health and healing through raw foods. I currently work with homeless shelters and am about to launch my first pilot program in a couple Philadelphia public schools. I believe that our children can't even begin to learn until they are fed nutritionally. I put together a school breakfast and a Fresh and Focused Snack Program. I want the children to start thier day with a beautiful variety of fruits in the form of green smoothies, banana whips(tastes like ice cream but bananas are the sole ingredient), and an abundant supply of fresh whole fruit - no limits . No cooked or processed foods will be offered for the breakfast. I believe, as you found out, that you can't allow the children to choose between what they are used to and the "good" food, but instead they can choose from among good choices. Shocking to most adults, the children actually love the fresh fruit. This allows them to start their day by feeding their mind and body nutrients that will give them energy and clear thinking. This program also will address childhood obesity and every other childhood disease. I personally would like to see ADD become a thing of the past. I know that it is all about food, what we should eat and what we shouldn't.
I am also working with legislators in D.C. to impact the revamping of the Childhood Nutrition Act and I would love for you to join me in my efforts. We must share what we know about the importance and impact of real nutrition and effect change. I want to address not just the Senate Committee but to meet with Michelle Obama and help her with her childhood obesity plan. We all share the same passion and I know that I can't rest until I have succeeded in effecting change not just in my community but for all children everywhere.
What you are doing is huge and I thank you. As the mother of 4 young girls, I know the sacrifices that you have to make to carry out this type of campaign. It is a mission that comes from deep in your soul and you have to follow through. I know now that this is what I was born to do, I have no choice in the matter and I am loving every moment of the journey. I am making a difference and changing lives. I believe we should disscuss ways that we can put the pressure on the government to make changes to the school breakfast and lunch programs.
We are on the verge of a Food Revolution and I love that you are kicking it off. Please check out my website so you can see how I started my own Food Revolution. We can really make a difference if we all join forces, please contact me.
Thanks for all you do,
Lisa Maguire, Chairman and Founder, www.GetRealGetRaw.org
Well the revolution is being televised FINALLY!! I co founded the Canadian Coalition for Student Nutrition in 1991 and we STILL have no national school food program in Canada despite many successful community and school baords running programs we have NO sustained federal funding.... SO when you are done in the US pop up to us next door!! PS Breakfastforlearning.ca more info and we proudly support the Farm to School movement throughout the US through the Coalition for Food Security....
What have I doen, well after 19+years of orgranizing and volunteering I have a son who is a chef and in Toronto we can boast thousands of children eating healthy food and learning about gardens in our classrooms. And as a British ex-pat THANK YOU for changing UK school meals and going global!
Fiona Knight, Toronto, Canada
Our food revolution began in 2006. My 21 month old was diagnosed in the Autism spectrum and my 3 yr old was exhibiting signs of ADHD. ( a year later, my 3rd son was diganosed in the autism spectrum as well. ) After keeping my face in everything I could read for 18 months, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about wellness, illness, the neurological system, and the role of food dyes, preservatives, hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated...HFCS...in our foods/drinks. The very first thing I did (after reading "Why Your Chidl is Hyperactive" by Dr. Feingold...ancient read but still more than relevant today) was to remove food dyes from my children. I reduced the amount of sugar (cereals, juice, etc.) a bit as well and within 2 weeks my son lost the majority of his ADHD symptoms. We switched to primarily organic foods and milk, researched goods with "acceptable" preservatives and that's what we do now. I have to tell you that combined with countless other therapies and proactive decisions, we have seen an insane amount of healing and my two "autistic" children resemble typically developing children in their classes and on their sports teams. My children's eyes are brighter, they have better skin tone and all over better health since we are demanding and providing better food for our family. I have been pushing a food revolution to those around me and am constantly asked questions about our food choices but it is so hard for other people to really wrap their brains around something so scary....that we can't trust our food source or the government that fails to regulate it and protect US. That shook me to the core when I first discovered it and even after all of these years, I am angry and disgusted by it and want to shout what I know from the rooftops.
Good Evening I just signed the petition and donated $100.00.
I live and work in the Napa Valley. I've been a fitness instructor for about 27 years. I offered to teach free fitness classes for kids during the "down time" in the Aerobic room where I had been teaching for around 20 years. The club was not interested so I am no longer teaching there.
I am now volunteering my time in helping the Town of Yountville (home of 3 of Thomas Keller's restaurants, along with Michael Chiarello's Bottega, Phillip Jeanty's Bistro Jeanty just to name a few), to develope their healthy kids program. The first day will be April 6th. Hopefully I'll be able to inlist some of our wonderful chefs to help out with some easy, simple and most of all healthy recipes.
I will be incorporating the healthy eats with an hour of exercise.
I've also donated a movable wall of mirrors that span 24 feet so the kids will be able to see better.
A little side note. When I was 18, I'm now 52, I ran for Miss Napa County. My platform was Kids and Fitness.
I would love to donate my time to help out with the Revolution. Let me know how I can help.
Thank you for your time and efforts.