A Delicious Revolution

A Delicious Revolution

Thu 24 Oct 2013

Story by Alice Waters

Reposted from FoodDay.org

If we really want to change the food system in this world, really want to make lasting change, the greatest thing we can do is educate and empower the next generation. I really believe that “public education is our last truly democratic institution.” School is the place where we can reach every child while their values are still being formed. This is why I believe so profoundly in what I’ve been calling Edible Education – a slow food curriculum that begins when kids first go to school and continues through their whole academic life.

In an Edible Education, we place sense-oriented experience at the center of scholastic life. We do this by placing food and food concerns at the center of - not only the school lunch program – but at the center of the curriculum of THE WHOLE SCHOOL. It means math becomes a practical, hands-on class taught in the environment of the farm/garden. A language class is enhanced by the translation of recipes or stories from other cultures. A biology class is illuminated by the activity in a compost heap or by studying and observing living animals and their habits. All classes are embedded in real, evolving, living environments. Things like biodiversity and interconnectedness and empathy are experienced instead of just talked about.

My feeling is we should adopt criteria for buying sustainable food in all our schools and institutions…in every country. Not only would we be educating the next generation into this new way of eating, but the schools themselves could become economic engines for their communities…and all the while serving every child a delicious, free, nutritious school lunch. This isn’t just “gardens in schools” or an environmental awareness class, or the label on a piece of fruit, it’s a larger and more radical approach to teaching our kids how to live and trust their deeper selves, how to embrace Slow Food culture. And it’s also a way to make sure everyone is fed. It’s a positive and caring way – actually a more traditional way (we’ve just forgotten it).

Many years ago, I tried to think of a phrase to describe what I was doing in the public schools in the United States. I decided to call it A Delicious Revolution. I called it that because, one, I believe that tasty food and pleasure will bring everyone back to the table--back to their senses. But I also believed we needed a revolutionary spirit to get any of this done. I still believe we need that revolutionary spirit to get things done – now more than ever!! But we’re not trying to throw anything over - we’re trying to win people over.

Brillat-Savarin once said, "The destiny of nations depends on the manner in which they feed themselves." How right he was, how right he still is.

This is an excerpt from Alice Waters's speech delivered at the Semana Mesa Sao Paulo conference on November 5, 2012. It has been reduced for the web.

About the Author: Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse Restaurant and Café in Berkeley, California, has championed local, organic farms for over four decades. After helping to change the American food landscape, Alice introduced her ideas into the public schools with the Edible Schoolyard Project, a non-profit with the mission to build and share an edible education curriculum for kindergarten through high school. The Edible Schoolyard Project envisions gardens and kitchens as interactive classrooms for all academic subjects, and a free, nutritious, organic lunch for every student.

Image: Evan Sung


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