Revolutionizing Food in Richmond

Revolutionizing Food In Richmond

Wed 12 Jun 2013

Story by Ann Butler

Talking about spinach to 6 year olds won’t get you very far, but creating spinach and strawberry salads is now a big hit in Richmond, Virginia. As part of Jamie Oliver’s global effort to create an awareness for preparing and eating fresh, local foods, Richmond celebrated Food Revolution Day in a big spinach way.

Kids Chef Cooking Competition

The Food Revolution Day 2013 events began with a Kids Jr. Chef Cooking Competition at Kitchen Thyme where local celebrity chefs were mentors and judges for kids entering the contest to create great food with – the mystery ingredient – Spinach. Kids from 6 – 14 embodied the competitive spirit and designed on their own – spectacular dishes from Most Colorful Dish – spinach salad with edamame and zucchini side stir-fry to the Best Dish award going to Spinach and Shrimp Pasta Primavera. Parents were delighted to observe from the side lines, enjoying spinach lasagna.

At first I was nervous about kids signing up to participate, the minute it hit the Food Revolution Day page 20 kids signed up in about 5 hours!” says Ann Butler, of Edible Education; Richmond’s appointed Food Revolution ambassador since 2012. The event was a huge success, and is already being planned for next year.

Edible Education

Day 2 took Edible Education chefs into the elementary schools where, you guessed it, 400 students made their own spinach and strawberry salads. Classes were located next to the school gardens where students understood the connection between growing gorgeous foods and preparing and of course eating them. “This is the best salad, now I won’t have to eat the school lunch” quipped one first grader. Fear not young chef, Richmond Public Schools joined the Food Revolution Day celebration by providing the strawberry and spinach salad for their lunch offerings to 15,000 students.

A Community Effort

The Food Revolution Day activities continued through Saturday with more salad making and the enjoyment of a 5k race at Fisher Elementary School. This was an opportunity to see the parents really witness the importance of kids preparing and eating their healthy creations. “Imagine that,” said one father, “A 7 year old that eats spinach.”

In addition to the activities with youth, Butler planned early on to get the top restaurants in town on board to spread the healthy word. “We had 36 restaurants participating, featuring a fresh, local special for the weekend. The support was fantastic with posters, table tents and cards sent home with the diners explaining the importance of food education.”

The efforts to cook it, share it, live it in Richmond are still underway as Edible Education chefs continue to promote fresh, local food through with their mobile cooking school. The Food Revolution is indeed a global mission, the Richmond community and their sponsors were delighted to have a role in promoting such as worthy endeavor.

Ann Butler is the owner and founder of Edible Education, and hands-on cooking school that comes to you. As a former High School Culinary Arts teacher, Ann understood the importance of food education but wanted to make a significant change in the way kids eat, so she started Edible Education and took fresh food culinary lessons to the younger kids. Two years and 8,000 kids later, Edible Education is honored to be part of the Food Revolution Day Celebration throughout the year.

We thank the incredible sponsors helping to feed all the children and promote the efforts. Thanks to Health Diagnostics Laboratory, Grid Magazine, N1 Health, Backyard Farmers, Skinquarter Farms, The Farm Table and Field of Dreams Farms for their donations to food education and Food Revolution Day.

About the Author: Ann Butler, founder of Edible Education, has hosted JO FRD two years in a row with great success. Her mobile cooking program, has educated over 9,000 children to make healthier choices in their everyday lives. Her philosophy is when kids get to cook it, they'll eat it. As a former High School Culinary Arts teacher, Ann realized reaching the younger students would make a life long difference.
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