Food Revolution Group Of The Week: St George, UtahThu 30 Jun 2011
Story by Amber Smith
A Fourth Grade St. George Food Revolution
Being big fans of Jamie Oliver, the Food Revolution, and our new healthy lifestyle, my son, daughter, and I decided to show our support by starting up the St. George Food Revolution Community on Facebook.
Our goal was to expand Jamie’s audience and spark local interest in the movement. It wasn’t until my fourth grade class became involved, however, that I started to see the real potential of the group.
In April, we learned about prominent people through history who had identified social problems and worked to find solutions. While I was trying to explain what it means to “organize” in support of a cause, I thought of Jamie. I mentioned his petition and we started exploring the Food Revolution website. They wanted to see an episode of the show. I showed them the first show of Season 2…the one with the pink slime. They were appalled and wanted to know more. One boy in my class said that he was “so angry that people would try to feed that stuff to kids!”
The next episode was the one showing the school bus filled with the sugar from flavored milk. Nearly all of my class stopped drinking chocolate milk and our school began running out of white milk every single day. The day we shared the video with another class there was no white milk left for us! This was measurable proof for the kids that they had the power to effect change.
Prior to learning of the Food Revolution, the students were given an assignment requiring them each to identify a problem in our community, do research to come up with a solution, and present those findings to the class. They decided instead to join forces to create one project about the Food Revolution and the fight against heart disease and obesity.
It was all I could do to keep up with their demand for resources. Despite the colorful language (ahem!) we watched all of the first season episodes with our notebooks open. I was even pulling boxes out of the dumpster so we could investigate the ingredients used in our school meals. We were surprised to learn that our beef nuggets contained 52 ingredients other than beef!
The kids divided into groups to handle their research and presentation more efficiently. They formed groups focused on healthier shopping and cooking at home, improving school food, and on the fast food industry. Instead of presenting to one another, the kids invited their parents, the cafeteria workers, and other fourth grade classes to hear what they had to say. It was great to hear the mothers talking about cleaning out their pantries as they exited the room.
The school year ended on us so we have plans to start a Food Revolution club that meets after school next year. We will definitely be campaigning to get rid of chocolate milk altogether. The kids have also suggested starting a school garden, a healthy cookbook, and cooking classes for kids.
About the author: Amber Smith is a 4th grade teacher and founder of the St. George Food Revolution community group in Utah.
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