Saturday, May 19, marked the first-ever global Food Revolution Day. I can not tell you how proud I am that we have more than 500 cities in 57 countries around the world standing up for real food. And it couldn’t be a more important time for it.
Chef Jamie hosted the global event from Los Angeles in partnership with David Feinberg, President and CEO of the UCLA Health System, teaching kids from the Boys and Girls Club the value of farm-fresh foods from his rolling big rig kitchen. Afterward, he hosted a celebrity dinner at Gjelina, where Adrian Grenier and Jimmy Kimmel, spoke to guests about continuing the movement.
By Jamie Oliver
With notes by Christopher Ford, Co-Founder, Stitches ‘n Dishes
According to the World Health Organization, global obesity has more than doubled since 1980 and more than tripled in children. Across the world more than 1.5 BILLION adults are overweight and of those 200 million men and 300 million women are obese. We are in big trouble.
Despite these grim statistics, and general shouting about the problem across the world, no one — not government, schools or doctors — have worked out a plan to give our children the tools to live longer, healthier, happier and more productive lives. Our kids are the first generation predicted to live shorter lives than their parents. As a father this is unacceptable to me — and should be unacceptable to you.
Food Revolution Day is an opportunity for everyone around the world to do something. The Food Revolution and Food Revolution Day is about empowering people through education or, frankly, just inspiring people to be more street-wise about food, where it comes from and how it affects their bodies. If you know how to cook you can save yourself money, feel better and live longer, and the chances are, your kids will follow suit. After all, we all kind of become our parents in the end.
I started learning about food at the age of five in the kitchen at my Dad’s pub. It was 1980, and about one in every 15 people in the UK was obese.
Just 30 years later, and it’s almost one in every four people. It’s the same story throughout the world and, in some places, even worse. The truth is that our priorities have completely changed during that time. That’s okay — with progress they change every 50 years or so anyway — but we have lost touch with real food and the time has come to re-adjust.
Everyone paying taxes, whether they’re a parent yet or not, should feel confident that when they send their children to school they will be fed right, educated about food and taught the skills they need to set them up for life.
Many people in the last three generations weren’t taught to cook at home or at school, and that has certainly contributed to the crisis.
For 10 years I’ve seen the positive impact that learning about food can have on our communities, our lives, our happiness, health and self-confidence, so why aren’t the governments or schools mandating food education?
It’s not that difficult. In Australia, I’m working closely with a big business that has donated millions to help communities — millions that have been match-funded by government and resulted in a whole raft of clever, strategic initiatives that will help to make good food and food education available to all.
“Food Revolution’s heart is here in L.A. It’s positioned to drive the most change in the States… When you go to the poorest communities here, you can see the Hollywood sign, but there’s no fresh food available.” ~Jamie Oliver
On May 19, thousands of people around the world came together — businesses, schools, sports stars and celebrities — to hold events, dinners and cooking classes, with the aim of putting good food back on the agenda. We want to change the way people eat by educating every child about food, giving families the skills to cook from scratch again, and motivating people to stand up for their right to better food.
We chatted with Jamie briefly on Food Revolution Day. I was personally so disappointed that I hadn’t heard about this global event, until only a couple of hours of its kick-off. I committed to host a Food Revolution mobile food event next year on Food Revolution Day, and I hope that every food truck operator and fan reading this will join me.
Jamie’s work and Food Revolution Day mean a great deal to me, personally. Two years ago, I lost half of my colon to cancer; quite a shocking revelation for someone as health-conscious as I was back then.
I was told my chances of leaving the hospital alive were slim. My body stopped absorbing nutrients, I lost all appetite, and my weight was dropping at a phenomenal rate. Once a long-distance cyclist, and in the best shape of my life at 38, my body had completely shut down. After surgery, chemotherapy, and battling several serious complications, something worked, and for once the scale didn’t change from one day to the next. Eventually, I began to regain to put weight back on to my then 117 lb frame – more than 50 lbs under weight.
After a two-month stay in the hospital, I was finally released at 125 lbs with a walker and oxygen tank. Three months later, I was ten pounds heavier, then 20, then 60, then 80 – it seemed unstoppable and out of control. I had gone from malnourished to morbid obesity over the course of seven months. And, I still fight this battle today.
In a way, Jamie Oliver and his food revolution were part of my inspiration for our Wellness Wednesday series. I’ve mentioned in several posts that I do have a personal connection with this series. Chef Jamie’s work is an inspiration to me, and millions of people around the world. My own health is stable now, and my body is slowly recovering and returning to a normal weight. One day, I’ll be back on a bike, riding the beautiful coastline of California, and be grateful for people like Jamie Oliver who have taken great steps to eliminate the obesity epidemic. ~Chris Ford
Please go to http://foodrevolutionday.com and show your support.
Follow Jamie Oliver on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JamieOliver