Chef-activist Jamie Oliver visits Pacific Elementary School

e-Connections Post Pacific
Oliver and "kid chefs"Assistant Principal Rachel Cooper, Chef Alice Waters, Chef Jamie Oliver and Principal Shana Henry

Chef and healthy eating advocate Jamie Oliver was treated to a cooking demonstration by “kid chefs” at Pacific Elementary School today.

With TV cameras and reporters following, students also led Oliver on a tour of the Pacific garden and fruit orchard. Oliver was in Sacramento to launch a national food education awareness campaign with fellow chef-activists Alice Waters (Berkeley’s Chez Panisse; the Edible Schoolyard Project) and Anne Cooper (author of “Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Children”).

SCUSD’s Nutrition Services department serves 50,000 meals a day, including a free breakfast at all 75 campuses.

Newly elected SCUSD Board Member Jessie Ryan, who welcomed Oliver to Pacific, pointed out that many students eat both breakfast and lunch at school. She noted the district’s tremendous responsibility to ensure kids are eating healthy food and learning how to live a healthy lifestyle.

The “kid chefs” at Pacific participate in a Food Literacy Center program aimed at educating children about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The cooking demonstration for Oliver featured vegetables and fruits from the school’s garden and orchard – all a part of expanding food literacy early in these student’s lives.

“These kids show the power of learning about your food early in life,” Oliver said. “They’ll carry a culture of choosing healthier options because they understand what is in their food. It is amazing to see these kids so vested in their food. They get that it is important to give your body the best fuels.”

Today’s school visit, cooking demonstration and tour of the school’s garden and orchard followed Oliver’s morning meetings with state policy makers about accessible clean drinking water.

At a morning press conference, Oliver announced a new initiative by The California Endowment to install over 120 water filtration distribution stations – water taps – in communities and schools in California. Part of this initiative challenges Californians to help complete the job throughout the state with a crowdfunding campaign.