Getting Kids Excited About Real Food In SwedenFri 30 May 2014
Story by The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA)
Introducing our May Ambassador of the Month!
Ambassador of the Month is a feature we launched in order to highlight the amazing volunteers we have around the world. Ambassadors who have been chosen show an unwavering desire for change in their communities. They are fighting for real food and food education skills and donate their time every month to make this happen.
Our ambassador for April is Meta Fagerström from Dalsland, Sweden. Please met Meta!
Tell us a little about why you wanted to get involved in the Food Revolution?
My mum was always very careful that we kids would eat food made with real ingredients. She was single mother taking care of three small children and although had two jobs to manage she also spent her time cooking from scratch so as to provide us with real food, free of added flavors and preservatives. I cannot remember a single time from my childhood when we were eating at a pizzeria; instead we made pizza together from scratch at home.
My greatest interest in food though, I have inherited from my grandmother who worked as a cook specializing in vegetarian diets; I spent as much time with her at her work as I could. I knew as a child that I wanted to become a chef when I grew up and I have always been careful to use good ingredients and cook from scratch with as much produce from local farmers’ and suppliers as possible.
Today I run a business where our unique selling proposition is precisely that we are using real and traceable raw materials and our three values are: Food - People – Environment.
I got involved in the Food Revolution because I share the basic principles that Food Revolution stands for and I think the Food Revolution is an amazing organization.
How has the Ambassador Program helped you accomplish your goals?
I have noticed that it's easier to get people to listen to what I have to say when I can say that I am involved in the Ambassador Program. It is important to be seen and with the help of Food Revolution and Food Revolution Day we get good PR material to use on and offline. I also love that you get to know other ambassadors who share the same interests via the private ambassador space.
What have you been able to achieve since being an Ambassador?
I have set up a Facebook page for the Food Revolution here in Dalsland, Sweden and I have actively pushed to get people to stop drinking sugar-sweetened drinks such as Coca Cola, Pepsi, Fanta, etc. We do not serve anything like that anymore in my restaurant and I have noticed that although people thought it was weird at first, we've got avid soda drinkers choosing our organic and certified organic beverages instead. We also have jugs of water in a refrigerator in the restaurant where people can take the water themselves, along with pitchers with flavored water such as lime or cucumber or raspberries etc.
What real food initiative are you currently working on in your community? How's it going?
A current project is that I contact the local farmers and food producers to see if they're willing to showcase their activities, through themed excursions that we set up. I also want to highlight the problem that we have with pig farming in Sweden right now and therefore get people to buy from our local producers. I want to show that you can eat good vegetarian diet on some days in order to put a little more money on a piece of meat that is known to come from a local pig that has been living a refined and dignified life.
In Sweden there is also a law that all who work with food in any form must have a kind of hygiene license. I think that high schools should be able to offer this training to students for free, as for young students it costs a lot to get a hygiene license but for any job or internship they need to have one. I have talked several times with local high school about this, and recently one of the schools here gave the training! This is a great first step and I have also been speaking to our Business Manager in the municipality who is going to bring this matter to higher authorities.
Food Revolution Day 2014
One of the biggest things I have been working on recently is Food Revolution Day, which was a great success for us here in Dalsland, Sweden.
My original plans for the day included hosting a farmers’ market and small festival with local vendors and restaurants, however these plans changed when I heard of the live cooking lesson and Guinness World Record attempt that Jamie Oliver and the Food Revolution Community were organizing.
Although my first contact with the municipality was initially turned down, after a lot of emails and calls I managed to speak with our local public health coordinator, Linda Andersson, who liked the idea of participating in the Guinness World of Records attempt. We had a first meeting that led to many more meetings in order to get organised in time for FRD2014 on May 16!
Linda was a great help with this project, and assigned me an assistant, Charlotte Holmström, who worked full time with me for a couple of weeks in order to organize all documents as required for our event to be valid for a world record attempt. We were sponsored by one of our community’s biggest supermarkets, which delivered all the ingredients for the Rainbow Salad and we were sponsored by a local printing company who supplied signs and certificates to promote the event.
When the big day came, we were followed by radio and local press and we broadcasted the event live via an internet link from our arena (check out the broadcast here), where we were also tuned into Jamie Oliver’s live cooking lesson in London. Amazingly we had 243 participants in our event and together we counted down the broadcast and started cooking as one big team.
It was a thoroughly successful show. All participants were satisfied and our entire community feels a great affinity in our participation in this world record attempt. Later in the evening, you could see children running around downtown with chef hats on them!
I am so grateful to be part of the Food Revolution and I'm so glad all my fellow ambassador friends. I hope to assist in the organization and share our common philosophy for many years!
Get a list of all of our global ambassadors at www.foodrevolutionday.com/ambassadors
The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA)
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