jamie's school dinners
introducing Jamie's new school project manager.....
Campaigning for better school food has been a huge priority for Jamie over the past 7 years. He believes that children should be taught how to cook fresh, healthy food from a young age, and be educated about where their food comes from. He also believes that food education can, and should, take place in schools.
Michelle Smith really knows her stuff when it comes to school food. She shares Jamie’s passion for creating a better, more comprehensive food education system and joined the Jamie Oliver Foundation earlier this year in the role of School Project Manager.
about michelleMichelle has over 12 years experience in food and health in the public sector. Her recent successes include the transformation of school meals in Bournemouth, where Michelle generated £615,000 of external funding and moved the borough's primary schools from their 15 year cold packed meal service to a new hot meal provision with several schools benefiting from new on site kitchens. As well as the roll out of the 'Let's Get Cooking' programme in London, on behalf of the School Food Trust, Michelle established over 300 after school cooking clubs and trained over 600 community members in core cooking skills giving them the confidence, knowledge and resources to train more families within their communities how to cook.
Why do you love what you do?
I have a true passion for educating children and adults about food and healthy eating choices. This passion begun with my first cooking and eating programme in a primary school. After the first session a girl came over and informed me she loved my carrots but not the carrots she had at home. Six weeks after the final session, her mother came into school to thank me for getting her daughter to eat carrots as well as other vegetables! It was then I realised that my work could make a real difference to people’s lives in so many ways, in both the short and much longer term. I am constantly driven by seeing children and families discover new foods to enjoy and, better still, witnessing their realisation that they can actually cook with these themselves in their home kitchens.
What are the aspirations for joining Jamie in the fight for better school food?
I am really excited about coming to the Jamie Oliver Foundation and can’t wait to get started in my work here supporting Jamie to Feed our Children Better.
School Food has come along way since Jamie’s School Dinners series on Channel 4 in 2005. Now we have a new government in place I will be helping Jamie to continue the campaign for better school food ensuring that it stays at the top of the new government’s agenda.
We are also currently developing a new initiative for UK primary schools called Jamie’s Kitchen Garden project which was inspired by Jamie’s visit to The Stephanie Alexander Project in Australia. Jamie’s Kitchen Garden project will provide children and families with a pleasurable and hands on food education that will remain with them for life. Children will learn how to grow, cook and eat fresh seasonal produce as a part of their curriculum, creating a new generation who have the knowledge, skills and desire to cook meals effortlessly, from scratch and to grow their own produce. A generation who can Feed Themselves Better!
We hope to launch the project in 2012 so watch this space as I get started with lots of work going on behind the scenes!
Read about Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Project in Australia