Food Revolution Hits Home

I know some of you have seen it — Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution?  For those of you who haven’t seen this new reality television show, it is based around renowned chef Jamie Oliver and his attempts at bringing fresh food into public school cafeterias.  I’ve caught a couple of episodes, and it is eye-opening and says a lot about the culture of food in our country. 

Jamie is focusing his attempts on a small West Virginian town, and during a recent episode he showed up in a Kindergarten classroom to find out how much the kids knew about eating fresh food. The answer?  Nothing!  I watched in disbelief as he held up various vegetables in their natural whole state and asked the kids to name them — they had no idea.  Now, my three-year-old son may not eat broccoli, but he knows what one looks like for goodness sake!

Which brings me to my yard where you’ll always find some variation of a kitchen garden growing each summer, and where my own campaign for healthy eating will be kicking in very soon.  My focus for this planting season is to expand our home garden to expose my family to even more fresh options — I want to get them excited about eating homegrown veggies, and to illustrate to them that yummy food comes in other forms besides that of a chicken nugget and a side of fries.  And here’s what I’ve got to remember and what part of the challenge will be in bringing in more fruit and vegetable yielding plants into our yard: not every one will be “pretty,” nor will they all fall into the tidy category, which is the way I like my landscapes.  Sounds like this could be interesting.

My kids are pumped, though.  They’ve already been told that they’ll have their own bit of garden to tend, and that we’ll be adding some of their favorites — strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, corn, and sunflowers — to accompany our old standbys of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and various herbs.  I think we’ll even give a year-round garden a go because my daughter actually does eat broccoli (loves it, in fact), and having them involved in the preparation, planting, growing, and harvesting of their food will hopefully go a long way in teaching them about the importance of nutrition, as well as about the good feelings you get from getting out in the garden every day.  Not to mention that fresh food actually tastes good.   

So stay tuned because there will be lots of updates on my own food revolution, and it’s starting this week.  The first step?  Building a few more raised vegetable beds and bringing in good soil with a healthy dose of mushroom compost and cow manure.   

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