Food Revolution Group Of The Week: Arizona KidsThu 14 Jul 2011
Story by Charmaine Thomas
In June 2010 my 10- and 6-year-old daughters and I took the advice of a very insightful woman, Quynn Elizabeth from Girls Making Media, and married it with an idea long-held by my oldest daughter. The result was our web video cooking show, Kids Can Cook!
At its most basic, Kids Can Cook is for kids who love to cook and those who want to learn. It quickly became apparent, though, that our little cooking show was also a revolution in its own right. Months later I was inspired by the Food Revolution started by Chef Jamie Oliver. I was thrilled to learn of an opportunity to step up our efforts to inspire and motivate children not only to learn to cook, but to become better educated about food and embrace healthier eating habits.
Acting on that inspiration, I submitted the request to join Jamie’s revolution – and the Arizona Kids Food Revolution was born.
Like many Jamie Oliver fans, my daughters and I watched the first season of the Food Revolution because we were intrigued by the previews and curious about how the spunky chef from the UK would tackle such a huge issue. For me, I experienced a wide range of emotions with the realization that not only is the school food system in America inadequate and complicated, but also in such desperate need of repair.
I was dismayed to awaken to the fact that food politics and polices that were either unfamiliar to me, or that I believed were unrelated to my personal life, did in fact directly affect my friends, family and community. I was particularly outraged at the politics: the lack of interest, support and even ridicule that Jamie often faced because he dared to challenge this system and those who insist upon maintaining it.
So we kept watching, becoming more aware of important issues, and rejoicing when the passionate and persistent chef succeeded in making relevant and positive strides towards real change.
For my girls, who happen to be little foodies, budding chefs, and extraordinarily aware of some of the issues Jamie dealt with, they thoroughly enjoyed watching Jamie challenge and win over those who initially resisted.
Now, almost four months after being assigned our Arizona Kids Food Revolution group page, we’re pleased to have attracted almost 150 “likes” and hosted the first of what we intend to be many successful events.
Our group continues to build new relationships and partnerships, one most notably with the Tucson Village Farm, where we hosted our first community event in May. This partnership is especially exciting because we have plans to further honor the Food Revolution’s mission to educate, motivate and inspire, by hosting a major family health and wellness exposition in January 2012. This event will offer farmers, Community Supported Agriculture groups, chefs, nutritionists, teachers, community organizations and related industry experts the opportunity to connect with families for a weekend of fun fitness activities and helpful classes, as well as to share valuable resources.
Our mission is to help families embrace a healthier lifestyle, become aware of all the resources and tools available in our community and become active participants in the Food Revolution.
We are equally thrilled about another relationship with local Public Relations firm Proventures, whose representatives are working to schedule special appearances and healthy cooking demonstrations with some of Tucson’s top chefs, as well as projects at the Tucson Children’s Museum, Diamond Children’s Medical Center, and Tucson’s annual Culinary Festival.
We are motivated and excited. We believe in this Food Revolution, and that we can contribute to its success, and inspire others along the way. We are building awesome relationships, have great supporters and look forward to everything these partnerships will bring on this exciting journey. Stay tuned!
About the author: Charmaine Thomas is a foodie, mother to Haile and Nia, and founder of the Arizona Kids Food Revolution community group.
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