Jamie Oliver, host of the award winning program, The Food Revolution, takes children's healthy food options seriously. How serious? Enough to fill an entire school bus with sugar.
The spectacle was held at the First Lutheran Church of Carson in Los Angeles on January 19th, where Oliver and his ABC crew poured 57 tons of white sand into an old school bus in order to illustrate a week's worth of sugar LA school children consume just through flavored milk products.
Oliver is in Los Angeles filming his second season of The Food Revolution, except that unlike season one where Huntington, West Virginia let him into their schools, he has been shut out of all LA area schools. He's petitioned with the school board, but apparently his antics—perhaps not unlike his sugaring a 48-foot school bus—have been met with fierce resistance, banning him from working on location as anticipated. He's opened a Westwood kitchen, where he's holding classes and programs for area parents, students and teachers, but his goal remains to get into the school and work to directly improve their food choices, as more than 80 percent of Los Angeles school kids qualify for reduced price or free lunches.
Oliver used a broken school bus at his demonstration to represent the system he says is failing students. Oliver claims nearly 80 percent of milk products made available to LA students is flavored and can contain 28 grams of sugar, more than an average serving of sweetened soda.
Oliver told LA Weekly, "L.A. is not on my side. They've got their fingers in their ears -- la, la, la -- they're not having it...maybe L.A. was a big mistake." Oliver's frustration is not just about the unhealthy foods that continue to be served to Los Angeles students, but the resistance and rejection he's been receiving. But for all his complaining, Oliver hasn't given up yet. There will be more stunts, he says, and he'll even take his teaching to the streets with a mobile kitchen.
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Photo: Jamie Oliver