Breathing Energy And Life Into Real Food And Education

Breathing Energy And Life Into Real Food And Education

Thu 03 Apr 2014

Story by The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA)

Introducing our March Ambassador of the Month!

Ambassador of the Month is a feature that we’ve launched in order to highlight the amazing volunteers we have around the world. Ambassadors who have been chosen show an unwavering desire for change in their communities. They are fighting for real food and food education skills and donate their time every month to make this happen.

Our ambassador of the month for April is Lindsey Shifley from Mundelein
Illinois in the US!
Lindsey has been an ambassador since October 2012 and has so far achieved so much, from joining Google+ Hangouts with Jamie and the team, to bringing together her community and other local food revolutionaries for Food Revolution Day to working to improve school food. Please meet Lindsey!

Tell us a little about why you wanted to get involved in the Food Revolution?

I applied to become a Food Ambassador at the end of October 2012, about a month into a successful family food change. With the help of a nutritionist, my husband and I put our daughter on an elimination diet to see if it would help alleviate her moderate ADHD and sensory processing symptoms at school. Simultaneously, I started writing a personal blog called "the mullies" to serve as my online diary of our real food adventure. After only two weeks, her teacher reported a huge shift in symptoms.

Week by week, the academic and social interventions her school had put in place took root and she blossomed, finishing her 1st grade year exceeding expectations. Needless to say, her food change became a family food change! I found Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution one night as I was researching the connection between real food and academic success. I applied immediately because the concept of "cleaner food = better brains" wasn't just another article to gloss over in a health magazine or book anymore. It was a personal, amazing family experience that I felt compelled to share. Could our story inspire other families? Could I help improve our school district's food offerings, inspire new food education for our students and perhaps help the teachers reach their students more effectively? I rolled up my sleeves and jumped into my Ambassadorship hoping to initiate my friends, family, school district and community into the Food Revolution.

How has the Ambassador Program helped you accomplish your goals?

The Ambassador Program has given my passion for food education a huge steering wheel with clear vision. As a former student athlete, I believe in the importance of inspired leadership, perseverance and the power of team mentality.

The Food Revolution's educational resources and vast network is extraordinary and there is no way to quantify the impact I have made with the program's support. It's given me a global community to lean on, learn from and more than anything else... to gather with. I went from feeling like a castaway on an island (jumping off the processed food highway is HARD on so.many.levels) to feeling like I am part of one big love boat. I'm connected to people across the country and across vast oceans. Never would I have found such wonderful, like-minded, passionate friends like this without my global ambassador community.

Not every family is dealing with sensory processing issues like mine, and I love that the Food Revolution's message has universal truth and appeal. My ambassadorship helps me to connect with all families and individuals looking to create a healthier food environment. Today, I am not just a passionate Mom having fun spreading a powerful family story; I am a global team leader playing hard to breathe energy and life into real food education for all.

What have you been able to achieve since being an Ambassador?

On a personal level, I am so much more adept and comfortable using social media to help get the word out to my community. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram attract different audiences and using them along with my blog has helped me to connect with the local, national and global Food Ed resources around me. I have discovered a passion for cooking with my kids and getting others into the action. Who knew how much I would love capturing the real food adventures that unfold in the mullies? My kitchen has become a testing ground that does not always turn out successful meals... I like to share our imperfections, our successes, our cooking classes, the crazy fun we have together (yes, dancing and mixing is key) and even the thumbs down dinner bombs get highlighted on my blog. In April 2013, was awarded "Blog of the Month" honors and I even mustered the gumption to enter a Food Tube Video Contest which solidified my love of having fun while teaching kids how to cook and try new foods. Lastly, in October, I helped my Diamond Lake School district celebrate Food Day 2013 by participating in the Big Apple Crunch.

Without a doubt, my favorite and most important achievement is the act of gathering like-minding, passionate individuals to join me in creating the "waterfall" of real food education. I work hard to educate myself which helps me to put out great food education content which in turn helps me to inspire greater change - getting food education back into schools is not a one person job! Networking and connecting with those who have the initiative and perseverance to create a large, sustainable impact is key. You need some players on your team!

Here are a few highlights from the past year that highlight the power of gathering:
• Soon after introducing my ambassadorship with the Food Revolution to the Board of Education, our District 76 Wellness Committee was resurrected.
• Then, on May 17, 2013, Food Rev Lake County organized a Real Food Community Picnic for it's first Food Revolution Day celebration at a local Park District outdoor sports facility. Over 150 people came out, packing real food picnics to learn about making small changes towards a healthier lifestyle.
• In January 2014, our Wellness committee worked together with our school food service provider to eliminate all artificial colors from the breakfast menu!
• Last but not least, the Lake County Food Rev team grew with the fantastic addition of Christina Erickson, a Foods and Family/Consumer Studies teacher at Stevenson High School. We're just getting started in this fabulous caravan ride!

What real food initiative are you currently working on in your community? How's it going?

"Become a Food Patriot and Join the Food Revolution" is my FRD 2014 initiative here in Chicagoland and it's really gaining traction!

In November, I joined forced with Jennifer and Jeff Spitz, the filmmakers behind the Food Patriots documentary film and public engagement program and I am honored to be a part of their team! On February 19th, the film premiered downtown at the Chicago Cultural Center and some local ambassadors gathered with me to watch it; Sarvin Haghighi, Colleen Foster, Katy Vodicka and Christina Erickson all joined with me for the first time under the same roof!

We are working together to reach the uninitiated and inspire them to care about food and make small changes no matter where they start on the food continuum. "Change what you buy and eat by 10 percent - think local, fresh, organic and sustainable. We vote with our food dollars. Together we send a powerful signal to the marketplace that we demand better food." Choose restaurants wisely and look for better products at the grocery stores. Let's reward the food innovators that are creating markets for local, sustainable and organic foods with our patronage - we can all make small changes and increase our food security!

Food Patriots has helped me hone a powerful real food message:
1. Know where our food is coming from.
2. Know what is in our food.
3. Work to get food education back into schools.
4. Cook from scratch more often with your friends and family.
5. Vote with your dollar for the the food system YOU want.

So gather up your family and friends, we have lots of room for you to join us in the Food Revolution no matter who you are, where you live or what state your cooking skills and pantry are in. I want YOU to join me - Let's have some FUN together! Here's what the Chicago and Lake County Food Rev teams have in the hopper for our BIG Food Revolution Week:

May 14th - Stevenson High School Food Patriot screening followed by a Q&A panel discussion with the filmmakers.
May 16-17th - A Lake County Food Revolution Day Festival hosted by Carole Childers & Courtney Lyons of All Ways Healthy in Lake Zurich. The Headline event will be a Food Patriots Friday Night Screening & discussion with a Special FRD Dinner at Julio's Cocina Latina! Events will include cooking and gardening seminars, local real food vendors and much more for the entire family!
*Funds raised will help benefit the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA) and Food Patriots efforts to spread Food Education for all.

A little more about Lindsey! Lindsey Shifley is a wife, mom of 3, pitching coach, blogger and voluntary Food Ambassador for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution in Lake County, Illinois. Lindsey’s Food Revolution started as a personal goal to pitch out the fake stuff and cook cleaner foods for her daughter who was having attention and sensory processing issues in school. She launched her lifestyle blog called "TheMullies" on day 1 of her food change to journal the seemingly overwhelming task of swinging her family into a more “cooked”, real food lifestyle. Having found huge success, she is having as much fun as possible inspiring her family and friends to cook more #ballsoutrealfood from scratch and growing the Food Revolution in Chicagoland. Please contact her with any leads on a global transportation machine.


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