Alice Waters doesn’t need much introduction around these parts. The owner of Chez Panisse, author of many health/nutrition books and the endorser of a slew of initiatives in the organic, sustainable, local food movement, Waters would be a celebrity if she hadn’t chosen to live in such an anti-establishment community such as Berkeley.
Still at least here she can encourage people to spend their money on organic produce rather than fashionable shoes without fear of someone stabbing her with their Women’s Liliana by Adi Croc Print Pointed Toe Stiletto ($36 at Target by the way – I did some research).
One particular initiative has caught my attention. My eldest has begun studying at King Middle School where Ms. Waters helped establish an edible schoolyard. It has now become a growing initiative around the country.
Ms. Waters says: “Students who are given healthy food options at school, along with gardening and culinary curriculum, have a greater knowledge of nutrition and eat more fruits and vegetables than children who don’t.”
She also believes that every child from kindergarten to high school should eat school lunch for free. When you charge for lunch the kids who need it the most won’t buy it.
When asked what gives her hope for the burgeoning food justice movement she replied:
“The next generation of eaters — those under 25. There are some extraordinarily eager and committed young people who really care about food and where it comes from. And they understand why we need to go back to basics like growing our own food and sharing a simple, home-cooked meal.
This age group really gets the importance of nourishing ourselves and the planet.”
Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com