Cook It. Share It. Live It. May 17 is Food Revolution Day 2013

Food Revolution Day 2013

Tomorrow, May 17, is Food Revolution Day. This movement, spearheaded by Jamie Oliver, is a global day of action focused on people making a stand for good food and essential cooking skills. It’s about getting back to the basics of cooking and eating fresh local produce, sharing cooking skills and food knowledge, and joining forces within communities to promote good eating. To find out more about Food Revolution Day, please visit the official website, here.

It saddens me to know that many children, and indeed many adults, don’t know how to cook or understand where food comes from, and eat a diet largely consisting of over-processed, additive-laden products. I had the advantage of growing up on a farm, with a mother who was an excellent gardener and cook. My own children saw me growing vegetables and herbs in our city yards, and making many of our meals from scratch in our kitchen. Yes, we ate from a can or box or takeout sometimes, but for the most part we enjoyed good, simple meals made from ingredients that everyone could recognize and pronounce.

Lemons in a dish | © Life Through the Kitchen Window

I appreciate that not everyone has had the advantages I had to be familiar with good food and healthy eating, but it’s never too late to teach your children or yourself the basic life skills of knowing how to use whole, fresh foods to put together a simple, tasty meal that’s good for you. Here are five of my ideas for how we can all be part of the Food Revolution, not just tomorrow but any day.

  1. Learn to cook using whole foods, starting simple. Build some excitement and have some fun by making lemonade from lemons, sugar and water , and then move up from there. How about a salad with a simple oil and lemon juice dressing? Then maybe a meat spaghetti sauce? There are good cookbooks written for children, and many adult beginner guides at your bookstore or online. There may be classes in your community. Someone you know who enjoys cooking might be delighted to show you the ropes; just ask! Find others who want to learn and band together to make it a shared experience.
  2. Learn where your food comes from. You may not be able to visit a farm, but many communities have farmers’ markets. Wander around and talk to the people there about where and how they grow and harvest their produce.
  3. Try a new food every week, whether a fruit, vegetable or a meat. If you have children, involve them in selecting the new food item and make an adventure of it.
  4. Grow something! It doesn’t have to be a plot of vegetables, just some herbs on a window sill or tomatoes in a pot on your  balcony. Radishes grow fast and are cute too; they’re a great way to show kids the process of transforming seeds into food. Experience the pleasure of seeing your food grow and harvesting it to use right away in a meal. If you get bitten by the gardening bug you can create a vegetable garden in your yard, do container gardening on your balcony or patio or join a community gardening program if you don’t have your own space.
  5. Find out about resources in your community that promote healthy eating and/or gardening and take advantage of them. Here in London, Ontario the London Community Resource Centre offers a Grow,Cook, Learn program. Their services include community gardens, workshops that show people how to incorporate fresh, whole foods into their meal plans and a volunteer advisor program to spread the Grow, Cook, Learn philosophy throughout the community.

First picking of the rhubarb | © Life Through the Kitchen Window

If you can participate in any Food Revolution Day activities in your community tomorrow, that’s great, but remember, you can keep the food revolution going all year long.

12 comments

  1. I’d like to add to your list. Sit at the table at mealtime, without the TV. Talk about the food, it’s source, how you prepared it. Mealtime should be valuable social family time, not just mindless refuelling.
    Also cook with your kids, and your Grand kids. Teach them cooking skills in the process, but also nutrition, budgeting, minimising waste, using up leftovers, kitchen hygiene. Then them own what they prepare. Believe me, your kids will thank you for it when they leave home!
    It’s is a “soapbox” issue for me. Viva la revolution!

  2. Wonderful list! And I completely agree — Food Revolution should be every day. Every day is a chance to think about what you are cooking. And cooking instead of eating food chocked full of preservatives.
    Kenley

  3. It really does amaze me that most people buy frozen meals or already prepared meals instead of cooking a homemade meal. Home cooked will be tastier, fresher and healthier. Nice post. 🙂

    • I agree, Karen. It’s sad that so many people are lacking these basic life skills. We need to help people learn how easy (and more economical, more delicious and healthier) it is to cook from scratch. Not to be tyrannical about it – I don’t cook dinner every night – but to give them the tools they need to make good choices, and to at least be informed about what they’re doing if they choose the drive-through once in a while.

  4. I believe, Mar, that the single most important thing a person can do to improve one’s health is to improve one’s diet. All the exercise in the world will not make up for a junk food diet. I wish Jamie luck with this campaign, as well as wish he’d return to our schools and encourage the districts to improve their lunch programs. Teach them while they’re young!

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