Revolutionaries

Building a #FoodRevolution Jamie's history of campaigning & impact

“What’s fascinating – amazing, scary and incredible – is how food interacts with pretty much everything on the planet. It’s the biggest global employer, the biggest business and, if it’s created with love and care, it can be a wonderful tool for communities. But, if it’s controlled with only business and greed in mind, it can be devastating. With more people on the planet than ever, the issues we face around food have never been more critical. Without a doubt, I’ll be campaigning to make sure food’s created with love for the rest of my career.”

2016

Jamie celebrates with school children holding wooden spoons

Sugary Drinks: The Tax Is Announced

As a result of Jamie’s campaigning, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announces a sugary drinks tax in the budget to come into effect in 2018. The money raised will be used to fund sports and breakfast clubs in schools.

“We got the sugary drinks tax. We did it!”

Jamie celebrates with school children holding wooden spoons

Fifteen

The apprenticeship scheme expands, becoming an integral part of how young chefs are trained across the business.

Jamie celebrates with school children holding wooden spoons

Food Revolution Day: The Campaign Is Bigger Than Ever!

Year five breaks all records. Jamie holds a Facebook Live marathon with chefs and celebrities from 10 nations. Over 116 million people participate on Facebook, and 1.4 billion on Twitter. It’s the longest ever live broadcast on Facebook to date, and sees 700k people sign up to support Jamie’s Food Revolution. Jamie launched the global campaign day in 2012.

“Today, through the Food Revolution, we have thousands of ambassadors volunteering for us in 120 different countries across the world, getting people talking about food. Being able to share messages across the network, en masse, is really powerful stuff. If we come together as one strong, single voice, it’s far easier to force governments and businesses to create a better, healthier, happier world for the future.

“The Food Revolution is at the heart of everything I do. Food Revolution Day itself is about harnessing all that wonderful noise in one powerful moment, but surrounding that, the event is now an ongoing, year-round campaign.”

2015

Jamie celebrates with school children holding wooden spoons

Jamie Takes On Sugar

Jamie’s Sugar Rush airs, launching Jamie's campaign against excessive sugar. He introduces a levy on sweetened drinks in his restaurants, and is quickly joined by other UK restaurants.

“I knew sugar was a major problem, ever since going to America. The volume of sugar I saw going into kids, both in and out of school, was insane. There was a total lack of control. After the Olympics and World Cup in 2014, where we saw a lot of sugar sponsorship, everyone began to ask ‘at what point do you need to intervene with big business, when it poses such a massive public health issue?’. It felt like a similar problem to tobacco.

“I had started studying nutrition in 2014 and began to really understand the science. We spent a year and a half making Jamie’s Sugar Rush – researching, filming and campaigning for a British sugary drinks tax, where (crucially) all the money raised would go back into primary school education and initiatives like sport, breakfast clubs and food education.”

Sugary Drinks: Tax Campaign

Jamie petitions the UK Government for a tax on sugary drinks. He collects more than 150,000 signatures. Jamie takes up the mantle and makes it his personal mission to get the tax passed

“We worked with as many experts in the industry as possible. The best minds that we had access to at Oxford University made it very clear that a sugary drinks tax was logical, appropriate, relevant and would be much more beneficial than trying to tax all sugar. Then the SACN report came out in 2015 – it’s the world’s very best study into public health and it identified the single largest source of sugar in kids’ diets as sugary drinks. The evidence was too clear and too strong – it couldn’t be ignored.”

School Food: Food Standards Enforced

The government announces new school food standards. Local authority schools are required to offer one or more portions of vegetables or salad every day, and at least three different fruits and vegetables each week.

Jamie launched his campaign for better school food in 2005.

Sugary Drinks: Children’s Health Fund Launched

Jamie’s Italian restaurants introduce a 10p levy on all sugary soft drinks. The funds go to the newly created Children’s Health Fund, supporting healthy initiatives in schools. This is an incredibly exciting move for the business and, to date, the fund has injected £48,000 into 27 projects in the UK.

Food Revolution Day

In the Food Revolution’s fourth year, a staggering 10,400 events take place across 121 countries and territories around the globe. 1.46 billion people participate on Twitter. Over 9,000 schools around the world participate in Jamie’s first live cooking lesson. An incredible 1.6 million people sign Jamie’s petition to the G20 for compulsory food education.

Jamie launched the global campaign day in 2012.

2014

Jamie celebrates with school children holding wooden spoons

Ugly Fruit And Veg

Jamie and Jimmy Doherty successfully convince Asda to stock ‘wonky’ veg following an episode of Friday Night Feast that highlights the issue. Jamie also helps launch ‘The Odd Bunch’ with Woolworths in Australia. The range of ‘ugly’ fruit and veg reduces food waste and gets healthy food to more people. Woolworths sells a whopping 20,000 ugly vegetables within one year.

“Me and my friend Jimmy started Friday Night Feast to celebrate real food. A really important part of the show is the ‘food fight’ – the big stories about our food system. Wonky veg was one of the first ‘fights’ we covered. It showed how farmers were struggling because supermarkets only wanted a certain shape and size of veg, and they literally had to throw out (or sell-off at ridiculously low prices) perfectly good veg that was just a bit bent, too small or too big. And this was happening at the same time as a massive food waste problem, when many people couldn’t even afford to buy fresh fruit and veg.

“I’m really proud of that campaign, and it was a great example of combining campaigns with entertainment, in bitesize chunks, in order to engage even more people.”

School Food: Food Education In Classrooms

In a landmark move, the UK Government announces food education is to be compulsory for Key Stages 1 to 3. Jamie’s Kitchen Garden Project launches a full curriculum, with a digital hub and online community to help primary schools meet new compulsory cooking classes.

School Food: Free School Dinners

Ten years after Turkey Twizzlers hit the headlines, the government commits to making healthier school meals free for infant children. Uptake grows to 85% of all pupils.

Jamie launched his campaign for better school food in 2005.

Food Revolution Day

The third Food Revolution Day reaches 120 million people. Jamie launched the global campaign day in 2012.

2013

Jamie celebrates with school children holding wooden spoons

Food Revolution Day

The second Food Revolution Day sees 1,268 on-the-ground events, and 70 million people connect online, in 74 countries and 660 cities around the world.

“The Food Revolution grew very quickly into an annual event. We were getting millions of people engaging online – celebrating good things about food and talking about bad aspects of the industry. Even though the conversations vary in different countries, the philosophy is the same: empower, inspire, educate, create access to food and mend broken food systems. The universal message is ‘our kids deserve better’.”

2012

Food Revolution Day

Jamie launches an annual campaign day to make big noise about childhood obesity, and to encourage people to get back in the kitchen. More than 1,000 events take place across 66 countries, celebrating the power of good, fresh, real food.

“We came home from America and I wanted to form a network of all the activists and people who wanted to make change. We were growing a bigger network in the US and across the world, and I wanted a way to focus our energies and activities. And so ‘Food Revolution Day’ was born. It went nuts straight away.”

Jamie celebrates with school children holding wooden spoons

School Food: Kitchen Garden Project Launches

Through Jamie’s Food Foundation, he launches The Kitchen Garden Project to get primary school children growing and cooking their own food.

Ministry Of Food: Expands To Australia

The Australian Ministry of Food programme launches two mobile kitchens and two fixed centres in Geelong, Victoria and Ipswich, Queensland.

Jamie opened the first Ministry of Food centre in 2008.

2011

Jamie celebrates with school children holding wooden spoons

School Food: Feed Me Even Better Manifesto

New academies are made exempt from school nutritional standards. Jamie publishes Feed Me Even Better Manifesto, re-igniting the issue of school dinners. He and fellow school food campaigners launch the ‘SOS: Save our Standards’ campaign.

Jamie launched his campaign for better school food in 2005.

Jamie celebrates with school children holding wooden spoons

Food Revolution Usa: Spotlight On Sugary Milk

Jamie goes to LA to highlight the problem of flavoured milk. He fills a yellow school bus with 57 tonnes of white sand to demonstrate how much sugar kids consume from flavoured milk. More than 50,000 supporters sign the ‘Sugary Milk’ petition to remove sugary milks from schools.

“In LA, we were working with the second biggest school district in the US – responsible for feeding 1.4 million kids a day. I was targeting sugary ‘milk’, which had more sugar than a can of soda. Our enthusiasm ended up with me being banned from entering every school in the state! But we still managed to tell the bigger story by focusing on one school, one headteacher, and one class. We exposed the really low-quality, innutritious food – riddled with e-numbers, pesticides, antibiotics and hormones – that was literally everywhere. That was a pretty colourful time, but it was definitely worth doing.”

Food Revolution Usa: The ‘big Rig’ Truck

In partnership with The California Endowment, the Food Revolution’s mobile teaching kitchen, the Big Rig Truck, is launched. It goes on to teach over 6,000 children and adults in California how to cook.

Jamie celebrates with school children holding wooden spoons

Ministry Of Food

Ministry of Food centre opens in Stratford, London, and subsequently joins with a community project called The Food Academy.

Jamie opened the first Ministry of Food centre in 2008.

2010

Food Revolution Launches In Usa

Jamie goes to America’s most obese city – Huntington, West Virginia – to spread cooking skills in the community. In partnership with Cabell Huntington Hospital, he opens Jamie’s Kitchen (now Huntington’s Kitchen). Jamie's school lunch makeover is rolled out to all 28 Cabell County public schools and eight counties subsequently introduce 100% ‘from-scratch’ meals at breakfast and lunch

“After doing School Dinners (2005) and Ministry of Food (2008) in the UK, we wanted to go to the unhealthiest place in the developed world – this took us to a city called Huntington, in West Virginia. The idea was to use what we’d learnt to try and make a difference. ABC commissioned a primetime programme and we moved in. And the reality is that Huntingdon hated us.

“But, through the church, we met Pastor Steve – who became my greatest ally. Winter was coming and he hated that, because he had to bury so many people. When it gets cold, unhealthy people drop quick and it’s not nice. We realised that Pastor Steve was at the sharpest end of a global story.

“We began by working with one family and gaining their trust. Eventually we worked with the authorities to improve food choices in the town. We met people in charge of the school food system – which looked identical to the UK’s – where food is moved around like stocks and shares, bought years in advance then shipped to a school near you and deep-fried. We brought food markets back to the town, and we met all these local heroes who were trying to improve the city’s health and build cycle paths. It was big, it was bold, it was messy. It wasn’t perfect but it was kind of brilliant.”

Ted Award

Recognized for his contribution to fighting diet-related diseases through the power of cooking skills and food education, Jamie wins TED’s prestigious award. And makes the speech and wish that sets the pace for his work in the years to come.

“I profoundly believe that the power of food has a primal place in our homes that binds us to the best bits of life. I wish for your help to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”

Ministry Of Food

Two Ministry of Food centres open, in Leeds and Newcastle.

Jamie opened the first Ministry of Food centre in 2008.

2009

Jamie celebrates with school children holding wooden spoons

Fifteen: The Scheme Expands

The Apprentice Programme at Fifteen begins working with the community, with an outreach programme to local schools. More than 600 young people come to Fifteen for taster days and workshops in the first year.

Jamie opened Fifteen restaurant and launched the apprentice scheme in 2002.

School Food: Meal Take-up Increases

Demand for school dinners in the UK increases for the first time since the 1970s, growing by 300,000 in one year.

Jamie launched his campaign for better school food in 2005.

Jamie celebrates with school children holding wooden spoons

Ministry Of Food

Ministry of Food centre in Bradford opens.

Jamie opened the first Ministry of Food centre in 2008.

2008

Jamie celebrates with school children holding wooden spoons

Fowl Dinners

Turning his attention to the poultry industry, Jamie makes a one-off TV show revealing the shocking conditions of battery farmed chickens. The show results in an incredible 50% increase in sales of free-range eggs and higher-welfare chickens.

“Fowl Dinners proved that a campaign can exist in many different forms. It was an entertainment show that got 6.5 million viewers and, from the very next day, the UK never bought chicken or eggs in the same way again.”

“If you give the public good clear information, they make good choices. I played a fairly neutral part – simply showing what happens to chicks in the industry, and the reality behind different welfare grades. People really hated seeing those battery farms and they changed the way they bought eggs. Even the supermarkets were shocked by the response – the UK stopped battery farming years before the EU law came into effect in 2012. It started the narrative that eating less, better-quality meat is a good thing.”

Jamie’s Ministry Of Food Launches

Jamie heads to Rotherham and films Jamie’s Ministry of Food, which aims to transform the town into the ‘culinary capital of the UK’, teaching people to cook from scratch and asking them to pass on skills to two friends. 6,500 people come to cookery classes at the Ministry of Food HQ over the next year.

“The Ministry of Food was a bit of a tipping point for me – I started to get pretty angry about the averageness of government and the poor legislation around food and public health. I went to Rotherham because when I was doing Jamie’s School Dinners, it was where the press showed mums feeding burgers through the school gates to kids. Seeing that had made me realise the challenges we faced went beyond school kids – it was a generational problem.

“The idea was that everyone can learn to cook in 24 hours. We created ‘10 recipes to save your life’. My part was to put a spotlight on the town, helping to join up people and projects. After I left, the community has continued to run the cookery school, which is just brilliant.”

School Dinners: School Dinners Are Benchmarked

Nutrient-based standards for school dinners are introduced to provide children with a balanced meal.

Jamie launched his campaign for better school food in 2005.

2006

School Food: Schools Ban Junk Food

Crisps, chocolate and unhealthy snacks are banned in UK schools as new food standards are introduced.

School Food

The Government pledges a further £240 million to improving school food.

2005

Jamie celebrates with school children holding wooden spoons

School Food Campaign Launches

Jamie's School Dinners airs, revealing the terrible standards of school food in the UK. “Turkey Twizzlers” become the symbol of Britain's processed school food. Jamie starts calling on the government to take attention.

“There had been a constant drip-feed of stories about how bad school food was in the UK. I’d spent a year saying it needed to change – that it was the frontline of childhood obesity and that it was a wasted opportunity. I was having a rant over Sunday lunch with the family, and my dad just said ‘well, why don’t you do something about it?’ So I did.”

“We started investigating, and just kept discovering these festering, unloved departments of the education system, and these were the people responsible for feeding our kids breakfast and lunch, 190 days of the year. The unbelievable reality was that there were robust standards for dog food, but not for kids’ food. It was shocking. The worst criminals in our prisons had more resources and money spent on them than our children – the future of Britain.”

School Food: Feed Me Better Launches

Alongside the TV show, Jamie launches his “Feed Me Better” campaign, and aims to get 10,000 signatures in support of better school food. It becomes one of the biggest web petitions ever seen of its time. Four days after the final episode broadcasts, Jamie delivers 271,677 signatures to 10 Downing Street, demanding better school food.

“Halfway through filming Jamie’s School Dinners, we realised we were making something bigger than your average documentary. It was a different world in 2005, there wasn’t Twitter, or petition websites – we built a campaign website on a shoestring and started getting all these signatures faxed to the office. I then took them in a box to Downing Street. It was enough to get Tony Blair to increase the spend per plate on school lunches, and invest in training, which is pretty amazing in my book.”

School Food

PM Tony Blair commits £280 million to improve school food and The School Food Trust is established.

2002

Jamie Opens Fifteen

Fifteen London opens – the restaurant and social enterprise that trains disengaged young people for a career in food. In its first year, 15 young people join the kitchen as apprentices. Since then, 150 chefs have graduated and gone on to pursue careers at restaurants across the globe.

“Opening Fifteen is one of the best things I have ever done. I was way too naïve to understand the complexities and responsibility required to look after 15 people from challenged backgrounds – and it was really hard work. But that’s what was brilliant about it. Seeing all our apprentices flourish, from that first group to the most recent graduates, has been incredible. From day one, Fifteen changed the apprenticeship industry. Now, 80% of our graduates are employed in the food industry, and some of them are leading it. I fell utterly in love with Fifteen, right from the start.”

1999-2001

Jamie celebrates with school children holding wooden spoons

The Naked Chef Is Born

Jamie Oliver is discovered by the BBC in 1997, during the filming of a Christmas documentary at London’s renowned River Café, where he works as a chef. Two years later, the BBC commissions three series of shows with Jamie Oliver: The Naked Chef, The Return of the Naked Chef and Happy Days with the Naked Chef. The nation falls in love with the chef from Essex, and his relaxed Italian-inspired recipes.

“I was beyond frightened about going on TV. Looking back, The Naked Chef became about changing old-school British attitudes to cooking. I wanted to show that cooking meant you could have delicious, cheap, healthy food every day – and loads of fun. I wanted to prove that cooking wasn’t just for girls. Ultimately, The Naked Chef was about getting everyone back into the kitchen and reconnecting with food – when I did my live demo shows I saw how the audience had changed from just women to a 50:50 split with men.”