March 25, 2010

Reality and Revolution - Thanks, Jamie Oliver

Generally speaking, reality shows exhaust my patience in the first few minutes of contrived drama.  But I just couldn't resist watching the first episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.  It's clearly scripted and edited to be the classic hero's journey, full of tremendous obstacles to overcome.  But it also portrays some truths about our industrialized food system in a way that millions of Americans not inclined to watch a documentary can swallow.  Using a British celebrity chef as the instigator for school lunch reform and general education in small town USA is clever - our notable home-grown slow food advocates (Alice Waters, Michael Pollen, etc) just don't carry the star power needed with those outside the choir.
The first episode provoked a number of visceral reactions from me, while watching, and a bit of cynicism on reflection; but my lasting impression is one of gratitude and relief.   When a show like this makes it to network TV, I have hope that a revolution in food policy and practice really is possible.

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