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The food revolution
This is my last piece on my trip in the USA looking at retail and consumer brands. It seems to me that there are just too many stores in too many identikit shopping malls and retail parks, with very little real differentiation. It feels unsustainable, especially as more and more people begin to shop online. However, what stood out on this trip were the individuals who have been consistently successful and who are doing things to give back to their communities. As you know, I went to California armed with a list of restaurants from the team at Jamie Oliver Enterprises. Included in my list was the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Truck, which is doing an incredible job teaching people to cook. Impressive!
Anyone who is interested in restaurants and has travelled to San Francisco will have visited Chez Panisse in Berkeley. The 40-year-old restaurant is renowned for pioneering a culinary philosophy which maintains that cooking should be based on the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients, all produced sustainably and locally. Chez Panisse is owned by a remarkable woman – chef and author Alice Waters. She is a passionate advocate for a food economy that is “good, clean, and fair.” Alice has helped to create a community of local farmers and ranchers who are dedicated to sustainable agriculture so that the restaurant has a supply of the best local ingredients.
15 years ago, Alice, who has trained and sent many chefs out into the world, created The Edible Schoolyard at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Middle School. It is a one-acre garden, with an adjacent kitchen-classroom and an “eco-gastronomic” curriculum. She has involved one thousand students in all aspects of the food cycle through The Edible Schoolyard, which is a model public education programme giving children the knowledge and values needed to build a healthy and sustainable future. The programme is now nationally recognised for its efforts in integrating gardening, cooking, and sharing food into the core academic curriculum.
The success of The Edible Schoolyard has led to the School Lunch Initiative, whose national agenda integrates a nutritious daily lunch and gardening experience into the academic curriculum of all public schools in the United States. It is one very small initiative fighting against a system which, as you will know if you have watched Jamie Oliver’s TV Show, Food Revolution, does very little in this regard. Who is making a difference outside of their day-to-day business in their community in the UK? Please let me know – email@example.com.