In my home country of Romania, only private schools provide lunch catering and few schools actually have a canteen. Instead of wholesome, nutritious lunches that they should be receiving, children in inner city state schools eat lunch biscuits and yoghurt that delivered through a government led lunch program and poor children in the countryside barely eat anything during the entire school day.
In Romania the idea of eating healthy is not a priority, as there is no organised education system to take control and educate on such issues. There is no nutrition and food education in schools and even fewer interventions to control kids access to unhealthy food.
Despite the fact that nutritious food is vital for children’s growth as well as towards their mental and physical development, there is sadly no organisation or government intervention in place dedicated to providing the education our children need when it comes to food.
That’s where our role as Food Revolution Ambassadors becomes so important. I joined the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution movement in early 2013 and since then it’s been 3 years of continuous involvement and growth. From getting to grips with understanding the local education system to getting kids, parents and organisations involved in this global campaign into what a real healthy lifestyle actually entails.
Three years ago, when I began this journey, we conducted a research run by GFK (a research company) only to find out that 30% of the pupils aged 10 are overweight and 25% are obese. This dismal statistic has placed Romania as one of the leading European countries with regards to prevalence to childhood obesity.
Despite the lack of official support, our Food Revolution team here have succeeded to create a strong, positive group of volunteers, parents, some private schools, companies and a few restaurants to organize ad-hoc educational events.
Our Food Revolution Day last year was a huge success as we successfully gathered more than 100 pupils and their parents in the public garden terrace Verona in Bucharest. We taught them what healthy eating means, and had a cooking demonstration using Food Revolution recipes, as well as had a great creative multi sensory food related workshop . The event had a huge impact on the participating kids, parents, representatives of schools.
This year we hosted even more events with teachers, chefs, nutritionists and food bloggers. Together we got kids across the city of Bucharest cooking Jamie’s Food Revolution recipes, hosted a big event at the Garden Café Verona making healthy sandwiches and salads, held sugar demonstrations and got students cooking the Food Revolution DIY oaty breakfast cereal at the European School of Bucharest. Check out images from our whole WEEK of activities here.
Thank you Food Revolution Ambassadors and volunteers who joined us, what we are doing is necessary for our children and our families health and wellbeing. Long may it continue!