Why I Think Food Revolution Day Can Make A DifferenceThu 10 May 2012
Story by Ali Berlow
Island Grown Schools Turns Food Revolution Day into a Week!
I can’t think of anything more important really. When it comes down to it… I mean, how can you NOT support healthier food for children? It just doesn’t make any sense. Not even in a ‘bottom-line’ sense. You either pay now – for higher quality food, food education in and out of the classroom – or, you pay later – in terms of public health crises as we’re now experiencing.
In terms of less educated adults inheriting our country because if someone’s not eating well, they’re not learning well or to the best of their abilities, either. So not only do you pay in health, you pay in brainpower. You pay in compromising the future.
So why is it we so easily relinquish our future to corporations - to highly processed food from the industrial agriculture complex that’s unhealthy for people and bad for the environment? I have no freaking idea why. None. Are they such bullies that they make us want to cower in a corner and not defend our own kids and their future? Or is it just too easy to look the other way, pop another frozen fast food in the microwave and call it a day?
Giving Our Children A Better Future
We tend to only think about this month’s bills, this year’s birthday presents, this year’s Christmas. But what if we thought about giving our children a better future as a gift, instead of a chicken nugget and French fried lunch washed down with soda - because that’s what they say they want now… As adults (last time I checked, we were the adults in the room) isn’t it part of our job description to keep our children safe and out of harm’s way? Doesn’t what we feed them, fall under that category? Saying ‘no’ to sugary milk is a step. Paying for better food now is another. Eating less meat, cooking more meals at home, quitting the artificially flavored, sweetened, the caffeinated, the sports drinks, these are all steps in the right direction.
Even if you don’t have children, don’t you want to invest in the best, brightest, smartest people who will be inheriting your town, county, state, country and planet. There’s really no other time than the present. It’s a cliché for a reason.
Learning What Vegetables Are & How To Cook Them
I’m on the Island Grown Schools advisory board because I believe that IGS is a program that’s an imperative and I think it should be around for many, many years – as long as it remains relative, effective and fiscally responsible. It is not a fat program in terms of budget. In truth, it needs more funding to be able to pay its people a fair living wage. People, like Noli Taylor the coordinator, make up this program. The program doesn’t make money. It makes change. Change for the better. Kids learn what vegetables are and how to cook them. They learn math, science, history, art and English – from the school’s food gardens that IGS built and supports. They learn how to plant, care for and harvest fresh zucchini and how good it tastes in a pasta sauce. They show their parents where to buy a farmer’s butternut squash and how to make soup with it. They give back to the elderly, the clients of the food pantry, and learn that not everyone in their community has enough to eat. Kids even, just like them.
But not everyone understands or knows about the value of Island Grown Schools in my community or why bettering school food is such an important issue. It’s hard to toot your own horn and it’s hard to be heard. So we just keep talking and just keep doing what needs to be done for better school food and food education.
Food Revolution Day in Island Grown Schools
Participating in Food Revolution Day is a great opportunity for IGS because we can talk about all the great things Noli and her team are doing locally AND why it’s so important, in the greater context.
IGS and programs like it support an all-around healthy community. So instead of one day, a few of us local businesses* (restaurants, a landscaping company, my magazine) decided to get together, garner our collective social media presences and start talking for a week, starting on Mother’s Day on May 13th and ending on Food Revolution Day on May 19th. Focusing on the positives, not the negatives, we’re dedicating our Facebook and Twitter feeds to all-things-school-food. News and information, resources, youtubes on how to cook, inspiring people and organizations – all of who are effecting change in their communities. And we’re going to post about Island Grown Schools and its impact locally in the schools, on the farmers and most importantly for the students. For every new ‘Like’ on Island Grown School’s Facebook fan page between May 13th and May 19th, the business partners are going to donate a seedling to a local school garden.
To do this, we’re creating our own little online library which will include not only all these great resources but also quotes from students, teachers, cafeteria directors – and their best recipes, for the best food that they’re serving kids. We’re going to ask the players in the Food Revolution like Kate Adamick and Ann Cooper to guest post on our pages. We’re going to ask mothers and fathers to share their best after-school snack and ideas for healthy bagged lunches. And we’ll reveal the barriers and issues that cafeteria directors have in terms of getting fresh food to all those kids, five days a week in such short breakfast and lunch periods. What do they face in terms of money, kitchen capacity, regulations? We want people to start talking respectfully to each other. To start learning and not bashing each other about so dialogue and real change can happen starting NOW. Now is the time. Did you hear me say that? Now. Is the time.
So join Jamie and Food Revolution Day. He’s inspiring, daring, a unique revolutionary and he and his team have great suggestions about where to start. Then talk and listen to each other, take action appropriately. Do something small that works big. The problems are huge and overwhelming, I give you that. Change is difficult but there’s strength in numbers. Odds are, you are up for it. Because quite frankly, what other choice do any of us have?
Eat well and together. Enjoy.
About the author: Ali Berlow (@AliBerlow) is editor and owner of Edible Vineyard magazine and founder and former executive director of Island Grown Initiative - a non-profit dedicated to supporting local farmers and raising awareness about the importance of local food for health, environment, economies and community.
Read the IGS Food Revolution Day Press Release here.
*IGS’ Vineyard business partners for Food Revolution Day / Week, May 13–May 19 are:
Facebook: 7a – Martha’s Vineyard
Facebook: Edible Vineyard
Facebook: Heather Gardens
Right Fork Diner
Facebook: The Right Fork Diner
State Road Restaurant
Facebook: State Road Restaurant
Facebook: The Scottish Bakehouse
For more information about IGS go online and watch our video.
Facebook: Island Grown Schools
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