Sunday, May 24, 2015

Food Revolution Day 2015 Wrap Up... Here and Around the World...

It's been a little over one week-- Food Revolution Day May 15th came and went... And I am still getting inspired catching up on my fellow ambassadors' amazing commitment, effort and energy organizing their events around the world; I thought what better way than to ask some of them to share with us how they celebrated the day in their home towns and communities. In summary, at the school level, we had an incredible 8,198 schools across 95 countries register to take part in Jamie’s Squash-it Sandwich lesson, from a whopping 3,170 schools in the UK to two brilliant schools in Zimbabwe. As well, countless other kinds of activities and events took part around the world.To date, Jamie's global petition has garnered over 1.5 million signatures, and we still have until October to round up much, much more. Jamie will take his remarkable petition in November to the G20 summit in Turkey urging our world leaders to embrace food literacy in all school systems. 

Here is just a short-list round up of amazing activities and events happening on Food Revolution Day capturing local Toronto ambassadors in action, and our friends abroad in Argentina, Dubai, Nairobi, Netherlands, Oregon U.S.A, Singapore, Taiwan and Uruguay.

Jamie with a mouthful of Super Ambassadors Jamie's Food Tube Channel covering Food Rev Day

First, recapping my three school events in Toronto on Food Revolution Day. One with a massive hands-on cooking lesson making Jamie's Squash-It Sandwich in a Northwest-end high school. It was a high energy day that began with racked nerves on May 15th cooking up with 1250 students- a majority of Northview Heights Secondary School (1500 student body)... and Jamie himself making a special live video appearance!! In addition, 200 eight graders came for a tour in the morning and enjoyed Jamie's oatmeal cookie tweaked into breakfast bars, which is baked up every morning by the staff in the baking class in fact- the school's best seller! With teachers, 30 third graders from their family school Wilmington and other guests invited to participate, there were about 1500 people taking part here on Food Revolution Day! A successful day indeed! See here for more.

Photos reposted from Happy Revolution Day post (read more for details).

A second school event was held at Henry Kelsey's Middle School in Scarborough. My elementary schoolmate Ming Won, a grade seven teacher championed getting his school involved; he was able to bring together three teachers (including himself) and their classes to join in the hands-on session making the Squash-It Sandwich, with a total of 84 students, cooking while watching Jamie's on-line lesson. He tells me the program was great and the kids enjoyed both the group activities (students worked in teams germinating alfalfa sprouts in sprouting glass jars donated from A. Vogel Canada) and eating the sandwich! Speaking to the school principal pre-event, he was encouraged to review the success of the day to consider participating at a broader level with more classes in 2016. With the great feedback, that potential is promising!

Photo Credits: Ming Won

At the third school, Forest Grove Montessori attended by my youngest son Matias', two classes- 40 students participated (this was their second year getting involved). The children donned Food Revolution Day tattoos, ate cookies I baked up-- Susan's Crispy Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies and learned about germination and photosynthesis by growing sprouts with sprouting jars generously donated by A Vogel to Canadian-wide ambassadors. Their goal, through the Food Revolution ambassadors, was to encourage food literacy and consumption of nutrient dense fresh foods, by teaching 1000 kids and their families to sprout. When I went to pick up my son at the end of the long day, I was swarmed with his classmates showing off their tattoos, telling me my cookies were yummy and that they had a fun day! My heart glowed and made me smile ear to ear.

Photo Credits: Tammy Ghajar

No rest for the wicked-- The next day after Food Revolution Day, I assisted fellow Toronto Ambassador Linda Matarasso at her successful public Veggie Cooking Demo venue at Hendrix Restaurant Supplies & Equipment's brand new showroom in North York. Her menu consisted of homemade pita flatbreads, Mediterranean grilled veggie flatbread sandwiches and spicy carrot soup. With Linda's thorough demo, participants taking part in dough rolling, savouring delicious food and great prizes at the end, everyone had a fantastic time! To read more, see my account of the day's activities and Linda's post @starvingfoodie.

Photo Credits: Alex @hypebelly

Mardi Michels, fellow Super Ambassador for Canada and Food Revolution Toronto had a super busy week. She tells us, "I’ve done large in-school events to celebrate getting kids and their parents cooking for Food Revolution Day in 2012, 2013 and 2014 – it’s been amazing to see the larger school community join me in standing up for real food!  This year, I wanted to go a different route, though. Since Jamie Oliver’s push was all about getting food education onto the curriculum, I wanted to see if I couldn’t work some Food Revolution activities into my own – to make it a little more organic, less “one big one-off event” and more activities that will spark conversation at home and school about eating better and cooking. 

I’m lucky to have a little wiggle room in my curriculum around about now and the week of Food Revolution Day I was able to insert a few lessons based on Jamie’s official Food Revolution sandwich – the Squash It Sandwich – into all my classes from Grades 3-6. We all started out by watching the Mr Bean episode where he makes a strange sandwich on a park bench We talked about his ingredients, the boys drew his sandwich and labelled it and the older guys talked about the odd utensils he used (scissors to cut the bread, credit card to spread the butter etc…). Then we brainstormed sandwich ingredients and the boys then drew their dream sandwich – they had to choose a spread, a meat/ cheese or fish and some vegetables (oh and yes, Nutella and jam totally made it into the “spreads” column!). We grew the sprouts (using the #‎BioSnackySprouts kits generously donated by A.Vogel Canada!) and then we got cooking with our sprouts – making Jamie’s Squash it Sandwich – as much en français as we could! In the lesson after our cooking session we wrapped up by drawing and talking about our version of the sandwich aux légumes écrasés!  Read more about my in-school Food Revolution Week activities, here and my public events here."

Photo Credits: Mardi Michels

Registered Dietitian and fellow Food Revolution Toronto Ambassador Carol Harrison took an opportunity during a cooking with kids TV segment on the Rogers Daytime Show to highlight Food Revolution Day and encourage folks to sign the petition. The segment airs three times a day each reaching 600,000 viewers. Parents' barriers and concerns about cooking with kids were addressed while providing concrete ideas for how to involve children at different ages including making the themed squashed sandwich. These one through three graders in Toronto's east end lost no time jumping right in to make a 20 item salad bar with Carol.  All the while, the children learned how to wash, peel, grate and chop vegetables safely as well as make a home made salad dressing. Their plates were practically licked clean, proof that if children are involved in preparing food and have choice in what and how much they eat, they are much more likely to eat well. 

Photo Credits: Carol Harrison

Julie Cockburn, Super Ambassador from Bend Oregon, details her special day growing with the community locals: "I loved being able to offer real, practical support to a garden project here in Central Oregon. With the assistance of Central Oregon Seed Exchange, we were able to source donations for seeds and soil that were delivered to Crawmer’s in April. During the morning of May 15th, a handful of Food Revolution volunteers cleaned up their garden, and helped the kids get their seed starts into the ground.

Savory Spice Shop Bend generously supported the campaign by donating a portion of their proceeds from May 15th to the project, allowing us to give Crawmer’s a gift of over $200 to go toward their garden. The little kiddos, whose garden we helped plant on May 15th, are off to a great start – learning where their food comes from, and getting excited about growing it themselves! Our public outreach at Savory Spice Shop Bend was a huge success! Several hundred people visited with us, tasted REAL food samples, chatted with some of our amazing local producers, purchased seeds, learned about a local CSA, grabbed a free copy of the 2015 Food & Farm directory for Central Oregon from the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance, got a chair massage from Hands Of Healing Bend, and generally got excited about growing and eating REAL food!

In the first two hours, we gave out 100 free, local, non-gmo veggie seed packs provided by Central Oregon Seed Exchange, and sold many more throughout the day. A highlight was the beautiful enclosed viewing bee hive from Bend Bee Company. Young and old alike loved seeing the bees, while tasting a bite of their high desert honey.

I personally loved handing out pieces of Bloomsdale spinach harvested fresh the day before from one of our local farms - Juniper Jungle. I would have never thought samples of spinach would be a hit, but this spinach was so seriously tasty! Almost everyone who tasted it said it was the best spinach they ever tried – just one more reason to eat fresh, local produce! I’m already looking ahead to making the 2016 Food Revolution Day even better!" Read more on Julie's event.

Photo Credits: Julie Cockburn

Prachi Grover, Super Ambassador in Dubai had this to tell us: "A little more than a week since the Food Revolution Day and though a part of me is happy and content that everything went off well (finally I can put up my legs on the coffee table and ponder about the beautiful memories we created together); if you were to ask me to be really really honest I am terribly missing all those days (read the last five months).Endless planning, organizing, exchanging hundreds of emails, eating up each other heads, agreeing, disagreeing, sleepless nights because I was too excited to sleep before each of the events, those wonderfully generous people who came together to make this happen and those happy faces of all the little ones who made Food Revolution Day 2015 so very special.

We began with the 100 children coming together at the Indian High School, followed by another 100 along with their parents at Jamie’s Italian and 120 of them with parents at Lafayette Gourmet. Subscribers of dinnertime service also cooked with us and there was a virtual event on the blog. When so many of these little chefs took a pledge together it gave me Goosebumps. We cooked, tasted and tested. Played and Pledged. Danced and Sang. What a memorable month it has been. Much thanks to all the partners, media, parents and little ones who made this happen. 

At the last event one little girl came and told me she really really had fun today and when would be the next Food Revolution Day. I whispered in her ear, guess what it is tomorrow! That’s right. Every day is a Food Revolution Day!" Read here for more.

I told Prachi I absolutely loved this photo (one of her favourites)-- she sums it up beautifully, by saying, "Isn't it just like everyone is rising together and going out hand in hand to accomplish something meaningful?"

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much-- Helen Keller. Photo Credit: Prachi Grover.

Netherlands' Super Ambassador Terri Salminen took part in a multitude of events leading up to FRD, on FRD and beyond. "This year was my second time organizing a FRD event. My first event took place at the beautiful NeighbourFood Market in Amsterdam on April 19th. Amidst more than 50 local chefs and organic food entrepreneurs, I demonstrated the “Squash It” sandwich, gave tastings of the main ingredients of the theme recipe and engaged hundreds of market visitors in discussions about real food, the importance of sharing food knowledge and spoke avidly about the food education petition! It was a very fulfilling day, full of promise. Next year, I envision organizing cooking lessons for children and at the NeighbourFood Market to celebrate a new year of Food Revolution.

From May 8th through May 13th I executed a Food Revolution Line-up, visiting three diverse corporate restaurants of renowned international companies. I asked head chefs Damien Taylor, Joris Hendriks, Fong Yee Wong and Edwin Kwakernaak to cook from the heart and to share a favorite recipe with their guests by demonstrating easily imitated cooking techniques during lunch services. My goal was to inspire a wave of home cooking from scratch. In a little less than a week, with the passionate assistance of participating chefs I was able to reach more than 700 people.

During the week prior to Food Revolution Day, Hutten Business Catering made the “Squash It” sandwich, showing their support for the mission of FRD in more than 100 corporate restaurant locations. Although a few events were cancelled at the last minute, on Friday May 15th, I was invited to assist in a Food Revolution event at the Alkmaar soccer stadium, where 70 youth athletes took part in a taste testing and cooking lesson making a healthy vegetable wraps.

With Food Revolution Day at a close, I am posting the participating chefs’ stories and recipes through social media — working on my plan for next year. Meanwhile, my next “Food Revolution” event will take place this summer in Grayslake, Illinois where I am teaming up with Super ambassador Lindsey Shifley to teach cooking to a group of teenaged students at the working organic farm of the Liberty Prairie Foundation. My weeks will be filled up until my flight to the U.S. on Independence Day (July 4th) with the writing of a book of cooking basics where ingredients will be interchangeable and sharing essential cooking techniques will be our main purpose." Incredible work Terri!

"My dream is to make a difference. My passion is to inspire others to love good food made from their own hands." 
Photo Credits: Terri Salminen

Sandra Mukidza, Super Ambassador in Nairobi, Kenya shares these wonderful smiley photos cooking up Jamie's champion sandwich. Follow her pictorial post to see more smiles on her incredible FR day.

“Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are.” Photo Credits: Sandra Mukidza

In Argentina, several FRD events took place. Starting with a public awareness presentation in Buenos Aires, Super Ambassador Maria Elena Ledesma gave a cooking demonstration along with a tasting. She emphasized the importance of using healthy foods and local ingredients, consistent with Jamie Oliver's message to promote local cuisine with sustainable and healthy foods. Maria delighted the audience by cooking a recipe with the ancient seed quinoa that contains powerful nutritional properties harvested from north western Argentina. 

In late May, post FRD, her work also unified efforts with another Ambassador, the renowned chef Perla Buenos Herro, where both shared an outdoor program in an important organic market with families and children. All those who came with their recyclable cups shared a delicious vegetable soup in a friendly and festive atmosphere, accompanied with the radiance of the sun. Maria Elena Ledesma also gave interviews and appeared in articles of important newspapers, magazines and on radio in Argentina, bringing awareness to Food Revolution Day, and Jamie Oliver's global petition on food education. This commitment will continue throughout the year, with more planned actions to support the message of the Food Revolution campaign.

Photo Credits: Maria Elena Ledesma

Photo Credit: Way Ling Wiesser, Singapore

Singapore Ambassador, Way Ling Wiesser spent some time in school, speaking to a class of 24 about making healthier choices and opening their eyes to the shocking reality of processed foods.

The school also switched their normal sweet treats on Feast Friday to a whole spread of fruits and vegetables, and Way introduced them to freshly roasted kale chips - which some called grass, but all loved! Jamie's Food Revolution Day song was well enjoyed.

Diego Ruete is Montevideo, Uruguay's Super Ambassador living and breathing Food Revolution 365 days a year with his Petit Gourmet cooking school and advocacy work with Fooducation. Diego says, "our #FoodRevolution goes on, we are having three actions cooking with parents and children in a hospital. On Monday, we are going to a public high school 60km away from the capital city to share our kitchen skills with 80 students. That's our short term schedule-- our aim is to reach 800 kids before the end of the year. Hope we can reach more!" I believe and know you can-- go Diego go!

Photo Credit: Diego Ruete

Kate Chou, Ambassador in Taiwan had loads of fun engaging kids in creative food educational games. I'm inspired to adapt similar activities in future events with my own community!

Another year of Jamie Oliver's Annual Food Revolution Day is over but indeed not our spirit of committing to keep the momentum going and keeping cooking skills alive to help drive increased food education across schools around the world. If you haven't sign the petition, it runs until October! 

A HUGE thank you to everyone here who shared their incredible accomplishments and for giving me continued inspiration as a member of our ambassador family.  I feel lucky to have the opportunity to round up such an amazing compilation of your special activities here and around the globe.  Let's keep our candles burning for our great cause as we all know food Revolution day is not just one day, but everyday!

Super Ambassadors from around the world.

For more on what happened in your country and around the world, check out Food Revolution Day.


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  2. Love this post Susan. Just reading about all the events that everyone worked towards has gotten my eyes all welled up with tears. Tears of joy, pride and happiness. I am so lucky to know all of you. Lots of love.

  3. Thank you Prachi. Sharing those same proud tears and joy! A passion as one, a revolution as a whole... united we stand and fight together! Lots of love in return!

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  6. Thank you Susan! The post is so marvelous! To be part of this fantastic group, SupAmb of Food Revolution Community and meeting you is one of the best things that have happened to me this year! Besitos!

    1. Thank you dear Maria! Keep up the wonderful and inspiring things you're doing over there in Argentina! Love!