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Photo: Really Short

I recently watched Jamie Oliver’s speech at the TED Conference.  After receiving one of the 2010 TED prizes, he asked the audience to support his wish:

“I wish for your help to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”

I am so happy Jamie Oliver is bringing attention to a subject so many of us passionately believe in. We can no longer afford to ignore the snowballing consequences that result from disconnected eating, processed food, and idle kitchen stoves. I truly believe teaching children and their families to cook will initiate the healthy food revolution we so desperately need.  I absolutely agree that children should know how to cook basic recipes when they finish school.  As simple as it may sound, I think basic cooking skills, along with food education curriculum could drastically improve the health of the next generation.  It won’t hurt health care costs either.

I started this website in an effort to help families connect with food, cooking, health and the environment (or is that fancy talk for wanting my own internet soap box?).  The Kula Kitchen aspect of this website was developed to show families that cooking can be easy, healthy, and fun.  I, like so many others, am a busy mom with little time to spend in the kitchen, even though I love to cook.  I know how hectic it can get balancing work and family demands.  Eating fresh, healthy food is important to me (and to the health of my family) so with a little planning I’m able to cook whole foods for my family almost every night.  Of course no one is perfect and at least once a month I send my husband down the street for Thai take out.  On the nights I lack inspiration in the kitchen, I use this website (and other favorites) to give me recipe ideas for the family.  Maybe the meal isn’t worthy of a Gourmet Magazine cover, but it’s always made up of healthy ingredients and a little love.  I tell you this because if I can do it, anyone can.  I didn’t learn to cook until after college and my culinary education wasn’t always tasty, trust me.

Ideally I believe food education for our children should start in the home, but without support from schools our home efforts are lost.  The majority of our kid’s meals are eaten at school.  Fresh, healthy, WHOLE foods in the cafeteria are vital to the health and well being of our children.  We can not ignore the sub-standard “food” served to our children in school because, for many children, the meals they eat in the cafeteria are the only nutrients they receive for the day.  Feeding children sugar and processed foods at school is, quite literally, destroying them in every way.

Farm-to-table school lunch programs exist and flourish in many districts throughout the country and prove that eating local, organic, sustainable food does not have to cost a fortune.  I’ve toured amazing elementary school gardens and witnessed kids clamoring for first position in the salad bar queue.  Yes, healthy school lunch programs do exist and I believe if we demand change, schools that are lacking will soon follow suit.  Healthy food should never be exclusive to only a few select, progressive schools.  Every child deserves nourishment at school and in the home.  And with ambassadors like Jamie Oliver, a food revolution might be in the making.

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