I first became a Food Revolution Ambassador after being recruited by the first Uruguayan ambassador who noticed my work and commitment to food education through my program, Petit Gourmet Fooducation.
The concept for Petit Gourmet Fooducation sprung from my background in education and as a chef – I wanted to combine both areas of knowledge to create a new concept ‘fooducation’. I was teaching children how to cook from my kitchen, and growing fruit and vegetables in my garden, which became the ‘classroom’ for children who were curious about where food comes from, how long it takes to grow from seed to sprout and what nourishes the plants and the importance of eating natural food. The seed was planted and the program grew from there!
Today several schools are working with the Petit Gourmet Fooducation program, with almost 5000 children participating in the workshops, events or curricular cooking classes each year. What we do is vital towards encouraging children’s healthy development. We visit low income schools where children who have never experienced cooking or picking fresh fruit and vegetables get a chance to get involved and learn something new – we work with Wintercamp here in the capital city, Montevideo, which hosts 100 children every week from 3 state run low income rural schools. For most of the students, it is their first time experiencing a city and it is a huge privilege to be part of the sensory exploration and awakening of these young people through food and experience.
Not only do we work with schools, but we also highlight other issues such as persuading parents to take a more prominent role in the cooking process by encouraging their children to participate in preparing a meal, and I’m also currently collaborating with a nonprofit organization to turn abandoned public areas into gardens full of fruit and vegetables. I am also currently working on launching a recipe supplement to one of Uruguay’s main newspapers and I’m developing a recipe book aimed at children, for children.
Every year for Food Revolution Day, I have visited other South American countries to help spread the Food Revolution message! In 2013 I spent Food Revolution Day in Santiago, Chile, in 2014 I went to San Paulo, Brazil, in 2015 I went to Lima, Peru and this year, I spent the Food Revolution Day with the ambassadors in Paraguay! Together, we cooked for 50 local school children in Asuncion, Paraguay and taught them all about the Food Revolution and the importance of learning to cook and fuel our bodies correctly. Before heading to Paraguay for the events on May 20th, we also had lots of events here in Uruguay through which we reached 100 children in low income schools, each of whom took place in at least three hours of planting and cooking, and generally getting hands on with REAL food.
Here’s to our Food Revolution growing even more in South America!