Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mini Revolutions

I was fully intending to celebrate Food Revolution Day last Friday in a small way -- dragging the baby to a local farmers' market, since Dave was out of town for an awesome workshop. The illnesses floating around school put a stop to that.

So, while I did do a quick grocery shopping visit (one of my Aldi/Hannaford runs), I felt like the day was a dud. I ate locally for a meeting I attended in Utica, but the food was far from healthy. At Hannaford, most of my purchases were organic, though, so I told myself that would have to be good enough, as I tried to get my nose to stop running. (Side note: I bought fiddleheads (I was ECSTATIC to find them at the store...and I think people thought I was nuts) and kale for the first time!!! Can't wait to try it.)

However, Saturday afternoon as the baby napped in my arms, I decided to hit up our Wii for some Netflix streaming. I can't even guess the last time I did this. My hope was that "Gilmore Girls" would finally be available (what else can a girl wish for with her husband out of town??), but since it wasn't, I typed "food" in the search area in hopes of finding a cooking show. Instead, I found my re-education and a way to celebrate Food Revolution Day, delayed though it may be.

A French documentary named "Food Beward: The French Organic Revolution", yes in 95% sub-titles, showed me that the organic craze isn't just a fad, and isn't just an American trend. The rise of cancers, particularly among French children, were the origins of major concerns of the state of food production in France. To take a progressive, proactive approach, a rural mayor decided to change the school menu to organic and mostly local foods.

Here's the IMDB movie description: "Food Beware begins with a visit to a small village in France, where the town's mayor has decided to make the school lunch menu organic and locally grown. It then talks to a wide variety of people with differing perspectives to find common ground - children, parents, teachers, health care workers, farmers, elected officials, scientists, researchers and the victims of illnesses themselves. Revealed in these moving and often surprising conversations are the abuses of the food industry, the competing interests of agribusiness and public health, the challenges and rewards of safe food production, and the practical, sustainable solutions that we can all take part in. Food Beware is food for thought - and a blueprint for a growing revolution."

We get to sit in on school lunches ("Organic bread tastes better." And, Philippe! Eat your damn carrots!! Sheesh.) and follow students to a garden, which their teacher uses as a learning tool, from teaching science and the enjoyment of nature to math ("use your rulers to measure the lettuces' growth" "that's impossible!") and cooperation ("Hugo gave me his parsley. Here, you can have some." Awww.), as well as the evolution of adult thinking on organic.

At one point, the mayor meets with local farmers, calling it something of an occurrence (rather than something more aggressive...a fight?) and a chance for organic farmers and more traditional farmers to discuss methods and reasons for doing what they're doing. I found this to be an interesting example of the fact that adults are able to debate an issue in a respectful manner, in addition to the fact that the information they were sharing can be directly linked to similar views in the U.S.

Overall, I was dismayed, informed, entertained, and finally uplifted by this flick. Often, the American-made docs tend to be downers (or so aggressive that it does nothing but inform and upset...and enrage...and then come the tears....), so this was an awesome reminder of our renewed reason to work on eating organically and locally -- Hadley.

Next year, I'd like to have a bigger Food Revolution Day, with the hubby in town and the baby old enough to eat, like, EVERYTHING (he's already a little foodie, I can't get him to stop trying to devour my food; don't get me wrong, I love that he loves food and I don't mind that he wants to eat off of mine (after all, I'm a mom!), but his diet is still relatively restricted at this age). So, whether it's a foodie get-together with friends or just a family visit to a farmers' market followed by a special meal, I'm looking forward to it!

No matter what it is, it's all about the mini revolutions, isn't it? The small attempts at better things on a boring ol' normal day?


  1. Sounds good - I will definitely check it out. Have you read Bringing Up Bebe? It's about French parenting in general, but I was really intrigued by the section on feeding children. Like how menus for state-run daycares are created by committees with actual chefs and schools expose children to all kinds of foods you'd never see in an American cafeteria. Some people criticize it for including lots of anecdotes, but that's how I like my nonfiction.

  2. Cool! And funny you should bring up "Bringing Up Bebe", Amanda -- here's a post I did on it a little while back: And I'm with you -- anecdotal nonfiction. ;-) Great minds think alike.