In August of 2012, the Newsweek Gallup Poll – Daily Beast named Richmond, Virginia the second fattest city in the United States. Virginia’s obesity rates are steadily climbing ahead of most of the country, with a current rate of 29.2%(2011). This rate is higher than the national average of 27.8%. The rates will soar and adult obesity will burden an already ailing healthcare system if nothing is done to curb the current trend.
Enter: Jamie Oliver’s Global Food Revolution Day on Friday, May 17, 2013.
Chef Ann Butler of Edible Education is leading the charge for the 2nd Annual Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Day in the Richmond, VA area. The global initiative is aimed at inspiring people to cook and champion better food skills for all ages with the mission to: ‘Cook It. Share It. Live It’.
Butler also works closely with Greg Riggs of Field of Dreams Farms throughout the year promoting healthy nutrition and active lifestyles. Butler and Riggs are advocates for improving the health and nutrition of kids and adults.
“The CDC reports that kids who are exposed to at least 50 hours of food and nutrition education prior to age 12 will stick to a lifetime of healthiness! That fact alone should be enough to spur a revolution,” exclaimed Butler. That’s just one reason she decided to take action and join Jamie Oliver’s crusade. She has also engaged Jennifer Madden, an intern from the Virginia Department of Health, to help organize and manage events.
“I’ve always focused on child and adult nutritional education and when I saw Jamie Oliver’s search for Food Revolution Day ambassadors last year, I knew I had to check it out. I was eager to serve as an ambassador in their inaugural event. The 2013 annual event promises to be even more popular in Richmond,” explains Butler.
Food Revolution Day has grown this year to more than 1,000 events in 664 cities across 62 countries. There are 515 Food Revolution Ambassadors in 72 countries celebrating this global initiative.
And what better time to educate kids and families locally on the benefits of healthier eating?
Health Diagnostics Laboratory (HDL) is the corporate sponsor this year. With their help, along with dozens of volunteers and local businesses, Food Revolution Day spans several days of healthy events. The number of participating restaurants offering fresh local food has grown to over 100 local venues this year.
“We are very excited that The Farm Table is donating local strawberries for the school lunches and other events,” Butler says. “This is a great way to introduce kids to real food. We know that kids love to try something when they’ve had a chance to touch it and create it themselves. Kids will create their own salads using strawberries and fresh spinach for a delicious treat.”
Kids are participating in a Kids’ Cooking Contest hosted by Edible Education at locally owned Kitchen Thyme on Saturday, May 16th. There will be some great local chefs judging the food. Child contestants are given a specific ingredient they must use, and then creativity is encouraged for everything else. (To be considered as a contestant, contact email@example.com).
“It’s amazing what kids come up with,” laughs Butler. “At our last cook off, kids used tomatoes to prepare their mystery dish. They came up with unusual and healthy dishes like tomato stir fry, tomato omelets, dipping sauces, and even a tomato based chicken soup. We can’t wait to see what these novice chefs come up with in this contest.”
How You Can Participate
The best thing you can do is to get your kids excited and involved with Food Revolution Day. Talk about it and go to the website where you can download posters, graphics, coloring pages, and more. Plan a fun day on May 17th with fresh fruits, vegetables, and fun!
In addition to the events above, Butler and Madden encourage individuals to step up and take action for Food Revolution Day. Some ways to participate the weekend of May 17th include:
- Host a dinner party or gathering at your home and invite friends to participate. Feature some locally grown, gorgeous Virginia food to highlight the occasion and take pictures for social networking.
- Patronize a participating Food Revolution Day restaurant and ask about their ‘real food specials’.
- Shop at a local grocery store and purchase everything ‘out of the box’. Purchase only fresh and healthy ingredients to prepare your weekend meals – skipping prepackaged boxed mixes, frozen dinners, and other foods filled with unnecessary ingredients.
- Shop only at a local farmers’ market for the weekend meals.
- Take your kids grocery shopping to pick out fresh ingredients, give them a little direction, and allow them to prepare a meal at home for the family.
- Visit the Food Revolution Day Facebook site and join the discussion (https://www.facebook.com/FoodRevolutionCommunity).
- Tweet (@FoodRev) to your friends and associates and let them know what’s happening in Richmond, VA as we celebrate a real food revolution! Use hashtag #FRD2013.
- Follow the movement on Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/foodrevolution.
- Visit the Food Revolution Day website (www.foodrevolutionday.com) and sign the pledge to join thousands of others who are making the switch to real food and encouraging healthier food in schools and at home.
“Working as a Voluntary Food Revolution Day Ambassador is an honor. Jennifer Madden and I are both thrilled about the positive impact we can have on the community and especially on kids. All of the Volunteer Ambassadors work hard for no pay – but total satisfaction comes from making a healthy difference in the lives of other people. Food Revolution Day proceeds go directly to the Jamie Oliver Foundation to further nutrition education and support for a global revolution in how people view and use food,” emphasizes Butler. “For us, the reward is healthier living!”
“Let’s put Richmond, VA on the map in the next Newsweek Gallup Poll reported in the Daily Beast. But this time, let’s get on the map as a leader in healthy eating and lead the country by lowering Virginia’s obesity rates through a real food revolution!” challenges Butler.
- To learn more about Food Revolution Day and local Richmond events, visit http://foodrevolutionday.com
- For more on Edible Education and local events for Food Revolution Day, visit http://edibleedu.com/fresh-ideas/
- Visit Field of Dreams website
- Visit the Backyard Farmer website
- Health Diagnostic Laboratory (HDL) website