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Jamie had water on the mind as he headed Stateside to launch his 2014 Food Revolution campaign.

Visiting California, to offer his advice on healthier school meals being made available, Jamie discovered that many students don’t have access to free, clean drinking water.

Jamie strongly believes that schools must improve access to clean drinking water at mealtimes and throughout the school day. Nearly half of Californian schools don’t offer free water to students at mealtime. Clean drinking water, the best alternative to sugary junk drinks, helps the long-term health of our children.

Raising fundamental food awareness, both in the UK and overseas, has been a huge project for Jamie’s Foundation and Jamie said during his time in California last week: “The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA) has worked hard in America over the past three years to ensure that everyone from schools to communities to businesses embraces our philosophy that we all need to be re-educated about real, fresh food – how to cook it and how important it is in disease prevention.”

He added: “The Los Angeles Unified School District is an example of how to take food education to the next level, as they are doing an amazing job, working hard to revamp their meal programs to provide fresh, real food to all 655,000 children. If change can be made on this scale, then everyone should be looking to them for inspiration.”

As part of a 40-week tour that began in September 2013, The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (JOFF), in partnership with The California Endowment brings free classes and food education aboard the famed ‘Big Rig Mobile Kitchen Classroom’ to underserved communities from San Diego to Sacramento.

The Big Rig’s stay in Sacramento launched with Jamie’s visit, where he met with California and local policymakers, as well as community leaders to discuss school lunch and the importance of food education for kids at school, what can be done to improve access to water as an alternative to sugary drinks and to help school nutrition directors prepare fresh, healthy, appealing food for our children.

School meals in California and throughout the nation were overhauled last year to meet updated nutrition guidelines developed by experts at the Institute of Medicine and the United States Department of Agriculture. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 89.1 per cent of schools in California are meeting the updated meal standards successfully. However, according to a Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project report to be released later this year, there are still barriers to providing the freshest and healthiest meals possible.

“Food education begins with the meals and drinks served at school,” said Dr. Robert K. Ross, President and CEO of The California Endowment. “Each meal and every drink option gives us the chance to keep kids healthy and to help students stay focused in class. We need to make delivering healthy meals and waters as easy as possible for our schools. I applaud Jamie Oliver for spreading the message on the importance healthy meals at school and in the home.”

For further information on the work being achieved in the US visit the Foundation site.

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