Listen up, America: Jamie Oliver wants our kids to eat better, and he thinks school is the place to make it happen. In an open letter on The Huffington Post, he explains how the food movement needs the help of schools, and he calls for mandatory health education.
"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," he says.
Saturday, May 19, marks the first annual Food Revolution Day, described by Oliver on his site as "a chance for people who love food to come together to share information, talents and resources" and "to pass on their knowledge and highlight the world's food issues." The native British chef has been up to his ears in food revolution for a number of years, with both cringe-worthy failures and notable successes on U.S. soil as he's worked to make a dent in our childhood obesity epidemic.
The need for health education is an elephant in the classroom. Oliver says obesity among youth has tripled globally since 1980. A shortage of information, he says, is at least partly to blame.
"Many people in the last three generations weren't taught to cook at home or at school," he says, "and that certainly contributed to the crisis."
The absence of a path out of the crisis is also to blame, he says. "Despite...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."
According to Oliver, around the world more than 1.5 billion adults are overweight; 500 million of them are obese.
"We are in big trouble," Oliver says.
Want to get involved? Visit Food Revolution Day to find an event, organize your own, or sign up to host a dinner party. Every little bite counts.
A sucker for sustainable agriculture and a good farmers market, Megan likes writing about food almost as much as eating it. If you don't want to know what's in your fruit/milk/meat, don't invite her to lunch. @babybokchoy