May 20th, 2016 is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day. Quoting from the great man himself,
Food Revolution Day is an annual global day of action that celebrates good, fresh, real, food. It’s a day to shout about the benefits of cooking from scratch and ultimately to show people that not only is fresh food tastier, changing their food choices can also make them happier and healthier
Focusing on the rapidly increasing rates of obesity while more than 795 million people in the world go hungry, Jamie has created a grass roots movement to raise the public consciousness around better eating. He is using this movement to launch conversations with policy makers globally to curb the activities of corporations that market unhealthy food products and to improve sustainable access to healthy ingredients.
The Food Revolution website is the hub for all this activity with updates, news and information about the progress of the Food Revolution as well as posters, recipes and social media materials that participants are encouraged to use to spread the word. There is even a “School Pack” for teachers wishing to bring these ideas in to classrooms.
If you are a fan, you will know that the fight against obesity is not new territory for the tenacious Brit. The 2010 US TV show “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” documents his attempts to reform the school lunch program in Los Angeles, California and encourage better eating habits in Huntington, West Virginia, statistically (at the time) one of the US’ most unhealthy cities. It’s debatable whether he succeeded, but his genuine interest for the cause is clear (the show includes scenes when Oliver is so frustrated at the intransigence of local authorities, he starts to cry on camera).
The latest iteration of the Food Revolution seeks to engage at the local level, but also at the global level. On Monday 23rd Oliver will be attending the World Health Assembly in Geneva to push Health Ministers to implement taxes on sugary drinks, advertising controls on junk food and improved food labeling. Oliver’s timing couldn’t be better. In the last 3 years UK, Mexico, South Africa and France have committed to some form of sugar tax in an attempt to curb the soaring rates of obesity in their respective countries and the body of research linking junk food and obesity continues to grow.
The genius of this campaign is that Oliver is leveraging his indisputable reputation and world wide fan base to directly address the problem from “the ground up”. His web page encourages you to sign up to become a Food Revolutionary (the counter on his website went up by 1,000 “Revolutionaries” while I wrote this article) simply by committing to buying and cooking healthy food for family and friends and by encouraging others to do so. Those of us who are more community minded can take action on a larger scale by volunteering to participate in the events being organized on Food Revolution Day and by sending messages asking for change via social media to the politicians in our respective countries.
As Margaret Meade once said
Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
So what part will you play in the Food Revolution?