Jamie Oliver is in LA

I’ve been reading about how Jamie Oliver is having trouble getting an audience with the folks at LAUSD. Tough crowd over there. Although the district representatives say they don’t want to allow him to reorganize their kitchens because they don’t want “the drama,” they have created a heck of a lot of it over the past week. You’d think they’d be familiar with movie crews and reality shows.

Change is hard, but it’s not every day that Jamie Oliver shows up and tries to help. If you want to sign a petition encouraging the school board to reverse its decision, then you can go to change.org. I believe LAUSD is missing out on an opportunity. Face the music: change is coming to school food, whether you like it or not. Might as well make it fun and televise it.

Interestingly, Dr. Susan Rubin offered an alternative solution: go to preschool and childcare centers. As a mother of a toddler in daycare, I think that is a great idea. Let’s get the kids when they are young. Many childcare centers accept federal funds, but also have a bit more leeway because they receive private funds too (from parents like me). I know my son’s daycare needs to offer better food. I’m only lucky that we can afford to opt out.

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13 thoughts on “Jamie Oliver is in LA

  1. I fully agree that if the schools won't allow it, then daycares and preschools would be a great option. When my daughter was 2-1/2, she attended daycare for a bit. Great school, but no outside food was allowed. Subsequently, she starved all day since she was used to healthy food and not chicken nuggets, tater tots, canned fruits and veggies.

    Unfortunately, I had to put her in a place close to where I worked at the time due to the hours I worked. The majority of the ones had that same rules about food and the ones that didn't weren't as nice. I couldn't put her in one closer to home since I would have to pick her up by 6pm, closing time which meant that I had to leave work no later than 5:10pm.

    Needless to say, my daughter lost weight from not eating all day and she ate lots of cold cereal in the car during our 50 minute commute home. Once I was laid-off, I felt it was a blessing in disguise.

  2. It's too bad that they shot down such a good opportunity. It sucks to have to air your own dirty laundry on national TV, but if it helps out the situation, you might as well do it, I think.


  3. yes, change is a scary thing but it's so much better if you are a willing participant rather than being dragged along, kicking and screaming.

  4. A reality show coming into a school system could be rewarding, but could also be really disruptive. I imagine the schools of the LAUSD might have a lot on their plates (no pun intended) right now.

    Adding a reality show visit to the mix could mean that other important things are ignored. The administrators of the LAUSD are probably the best judges of that.

  5. Had a "Health Literacy" session at my school's inservice today. I shared your blog with the rest of the teachers in my session. Hopefully they'll check it out and glean some knowledge from both you, and all the links you provide.

    In the session, we discussed how we can help encourage healthy choices with our students. Even our speech path mentioned she works on categorizing activities, and could distinguish between healthy and unhealthy foods.

    We did bring up how we might be teaching nutrition in the classroom, but when the students go into the lunch line for their pizza, fries, and nachos, that are offered everyday, we are giving a very mixed message. (ironically a poster of the food pyramid is displayed right next to where the kids pick up the junk food). We also discussed how nutrition is yet another thing to add to our list of subjects to cover in the classroom. Reading, writing, math, science, test taking strategies, getting along with peers, following directions, being polite, navigating joint custody and messy divorces, eating healthy, body image, bullying, dealing with frustration and failure…don't remember my teacher prep classes covering all this stuff, but just a fact of life as a teacher these days.

  6. i went to an LAUSD elementary school and the lunches were pretty similar to the lunches you've been eating. i think it would be great if Jamie Oliver could come in and overhaul the LAUSD lunches.

  7. it is not a reality show, it is a revolution to change the school food for ever. They should be scared, but they should also be willing to change the food they are serving. It is our jobs as parents to take care of our kids, and that includes the food they are allowed to eat. Would you give your child a cup of sugar to eat? That is what they are drinking in chololate milk every day. Let's stand up and be parents, take the help and move forward.

  8. You know, I definitely think that there is merit in making sure everyone is onboard before committing to a region. Since there are many, many districts that woul welcome him, I think he should start there, to make it easier on people. Being strong armed into something like this really does stink. On the other hand, offers like this don't come around that often.

  9. I don't know if this is true, but I read this story in a local paper today, about the kids rejecting the new foods, now that Jamie Oliver is gone.


    I don't like the article –it seems so oversimplified in terms of what's really going on with school lunches and how the ingredients have actually changed since the author was a kid, but I was wondering if the information about the W.Va school district was correct.

  10. I teach early childhood special education. Some kiddos are "tuition based" while others are "special ed" and their tuition is paid via state funding. We ask that parents send in snack foods (we only have half-day options so lunch is not a thought) and much of the snacks are junk (fruit snack, dry sugary cereal, etc). I seriously just mentioned how wonderful it would be if our school could apply for a small grant for healthy snacks in our little school. Any idea on where/what company, etc. I can contact for this? All I can find is money/grants for grades k-12.

  11. I have a friend who has been working with the LAUSD on their food, and what they're doing to improve it. I don't know the intimate details, but as far as I can tell they're already doing significant work to improve the food at LAUSD. (She said that she's eaten brown rice at a school cafeteria, for example, and the kids were eating it, too.) I believe the district already had in place a strict "no cameras" policy since before JO showed up, which makes a lot of sense (if I ran a school/school district, I'd probably do that too!).

    LAUSD serves something like 660,000 meals a day. Change at this level takes time and is extremely complicated; having JO get in the middle and make everything look simple and easy for the cameras probably isn't going to help. It might be good for the national conversation about school lunches, but it's probably not all that helpful for this particular district. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Jamie fan as much as the next food-do-gooder, but I think there are probably more effective ways to speed up the change at LAUSD.

  12. I didn't go to school in LAUSD, but half of my family grew up there. I'd be curious to hear their opinions of school lunches. I imagine they weren't great. LAUSD has SO many problems, and I'd be willing to bet that one of the biggest uphill battles that anyone would be fighting in terms of enacting any sort of change there is engaging the parents.

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