Food Revolution Day: how to help bring food education to children worldwide

Food Revolution Day, on May 15, is a global day of action for people to bring food education to schools and communities. Such actions are more important than ever as the world grapples with both childhood obesity and malnutrition. 

Eric Vidal/Reuters/File
Customers visit the fruit and vegetables department of a Carrefour grocery store in Brussels. Food Revolution Day is Friday, May 15, 2015,

May 15th is Food Revolution Day, and Jamie Oliver is asking us to join the fight for food education for every child. 

Food Revolution Day is a global day of action for people all over the world to come together to stand up for food education and to cook and share their kitchen knowledge, celebrating the importance of food literacy. At Food Tank, we are inspired by the efforts of teachers and educators to incorporate cooking, nutrition education, and gardening into school curriculums.

Food Revolution Day is hosted by Jamie Oliver and supported by the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (JOFF). JOFF is a nonprofit organization that works to bring food education to schools and communities, raise awareness to generate policy change, and instill forgotten food skills through hands-on training.

Jamie Oliver’s wish is to “create a strong sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again, and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”

One in three children in the United States is overweight or obese. Worldwide, there are more than 42 million children under the age of five who are either overweight or obese. Yet according to Food Corps, elementary school students receive an average of only 3.4 hours of food education per year in the U.S. 

For the first time in history, the world has more people that are overweight than underweight. By 2030 it’s predicted that 41 percent of the world will be overweight or obese. 

At the same time, child malnutrition is widespread. This year, the U.S. reached an unacceptable milestone: over half the public school students in America are from low-income families. Seventy-five percent of public school teachers say that their kids regularly come to school hungry, and 81 percent say it happens at least once a week. School breakfast, like textbooks or cooking curriculum, is essential to learning and creating the next generation of food system leaders. 

To fight childhood obesity and malnutrition, we need a revolution! On Food Revolution Day, we are calling on leaders and governments of all G20 countries to make food education a compulsory part of every school curriculum. SIGN PETITION HERE.

On Food Revolution Day 2015, Food Tank is highlighting the efforts of food educators and organizations around the world that are bringing good food to schools. 

In New Orleans and Boston, The Cookbook Project is training Food Literacy Educators to create high impact in schools and communities. The educators train students as community food ambassadors to cook healthy, inexpensive, and culturally relevant meals with their families. 

Life-long educator Stephen Ritz is growing food all year long in the Bronx, where 37 percent of residents are food insecure. Gardening and cooking skills have been integrated into the core curriculum as a result of Ritz’ Green Bronx Machine project, and daily school attendance rates have risen from 43 percent to 90 percent. Ritz truly believes “we must start embracing the notion that healthy environments and classrooms can facilitate learning, performance, retention and aspiration.”

Aurora Tedesco is teaching children to make healthy recipes, with emphasis on whole grains and legumes, in Liepzig, Germany. Tedesco’s classes also learn about Meatless Monday and the environmental implications of healthy diets.

In Toronto, Brooke Ziebell is educating students about where food comes from through FoodShare’s Field to Table program. The program is an expansion of nutrition education to include soil and composting, plants and gardening, and cooking in schools.

The Sylvia Center in New York is inspiring children to eat well through year-round programs at community centers in New York City and seasonal on-farm programs in upstate New York. Kids are learning to try new fruits and vegetables, to prepare healthy and affordable meals, and to grow food from “seed to plate” on the farm.

In Buenos Aires, Paola Scarcella is hosting educational workshops to develop food preparation skills and improve food safety knowledge in schools and homes. The Alimentos en Movimiento (Food in Motion) workshops emphasize food choice and healthy eating habits.

The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas will host aSummer Leadership Summit for Native Youth In Agriculture in July 2015 for students ages 13 to 18. The project aims to increase enrollment in food-related disciplines at land grant universities by supporting existing students and creating pipeline programs for youth. 

In the United Kingdom, the Children’s Food Trust is providing healthy cooking skills and better food at lunchtimes. Through a “Let’s Get Cooking” program, the organization hasreached more than 2 million people and increased the number of schoolchildren eating healthy meals. When children eat better, they do better in school. 

Who are the organizations or individuals you know of who are cooking good food with kids?

We want to know about creative food education! Share with us on Twitter with #FoodTank and #FoodRevolutionDay!

By teaching children about food in fun and engaging ways, educators and parents can equip them with the basic knowledge they need to lead healthier lives. Now is the time to invest in better food education!

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