food diplomacy through the story of a meal

Archive for Jamie Oliver

Gardens that give way to success in multiple forms

What is a potager garden you ask.

A potager garden is a vegetable garden which is designed to be attractive as well as functional. Such gardens are designed to strike people with their beauty first, rather than being exclusively practical, and they can fit in a wide variety of spaces and climates.

The concept of the potager garden is French. In France, there is a long tradition of laying out practical gardens in a way which is also aesthetically pleasing. Along the way, gardeners often increase the yield of their gardens, and they may utilize advantageous plant pairings which help deter pests and enrich the soil.

In French potager gardens, you will need both edible and ornamental plants. The aesthetic value of each plant is the interplay between function and beauty.  I though that this interplay was a good overarching theme that also represents my new journey.

I am rarely moved by things that don’t involve food.  The sight, smell, taste, creativity, and individual cultivation of food for both nourishment and joy.  I travel to see and taste food.  I support individuals who are passionate about a healthy relationship to food.  Where they get it, how they use it, and what it means to a larger narrative in their life.  Fast, processed, industrial, and thoughtless engagement are just foreign to me.

Listening to Jaime Oliver’s TED talk, he quotes some numbers.  Even if he is completely wrong on the numbers (which I don’t think so), for obesity-related issues are not more expensive than smoking-related healthcare bills.  The United States is spending close to $150 billion dollars a year and it is estimated to double in 10 years to $300 billion dollars.  Staggering.

So what is moving me today.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

I adore Jamie Olive and have for many years before the marriage and children came along.  He has a very basic belief in that we are killing our kids by the processed, fat-ladden, industrialized food that is so prevalent in our society.  A constant through Jamie’s work in the commitment to good, fresh, healthy food that sustains and nourishes a life was the show, Jamie at Home.

Please consider watching his TED talk and even check out his Food Revolution concept which, as he says,

“The [obesity] problem stems from the loss of cooking skills at home and the availability of processed foods at every turn, from the school cafeteria to church function halls, factories and offices. This Food Revolution is about saving lives by inspiring everyone: moms, dads, kids, teens and cafeteria workers to get back to basics and start cooking good food from scratch.”

Pressure Cooker (film) and Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP):

Career and technical education encourages kids to graduate from high school and offers an alternative path to traditional post-secondary education. The Social Action Campaign for Pressure Cooker is designed to raise awareness and support for career and technical education programs, through initiatives with The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE); and the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), whose work served as inspiration for the film.

Determined to Succeed
“While teaching fifth grade at Brentwood Science Magnet Elementary School (NB: my son’s an alum of BSM), Sara Hahn was inspired by the resilience, motivation, and hope for the future she witnessed in her students–almost all of whom rode a bus for over two hours a day to avoid their neighborhood schools and receive a better education. Sara realized that if a passionate, caring educator supported the same group of students through middle and high school, the impact on them would be tremendous and life-changing. She determined that this commitment would provide an optimal level of learning, giving deserving students the tools and confidence to apply and be accepted to a four-year university.  In 2005, the program began with her current fifth-grade students as they transitioned into sixth grade, and, with the generous support of actor/activist Hank Azaria, co-founded Determined to Succeed.

Determined to Succeed’s comprehensive, year round program provides our students with the following:

  • Mandatory bi-weekly after-school tutoring/mentoring sessions during the academic year
  • College test prep, writing workshops, intensive single subject weekend tutoring as needed
  • Summer academic and enrichment programs specifically tailored to their needs and interests
  • Staff who advocate at school with their teachers, counselors and administrators and act as a liaison between students’ families and their schools

What’s next you say?  I will be looking into a formal butchery program to sink my hooks into . . .