Jamie Oliver, the crusading British chef whose â€˜Food Revolutionâ€™ reality series just completed its short run on ABC television, has plans to spend millions of pounds of his own money over 10 years to improve primary school meals and food education in his home country.
He says he wants to â€˜touch 1,000â€™ of the UK’s 20,000-plus primary schools. Last month, a study by Oxford University and Essex University found that Oliver’s campaign for healthy school meals had boosted students’ test scores. In 2005, he started his Feed Me Better campaign because he was appalled by the junk food being served at many schools in Great Britain.
Oliver told the BBC he hoped his new plan would tackle childhood obesity in â€˜the most unhealthy country in Europeâ€™ which had â€˜the first generation of kids expected to live a shorter life than their parents.â€™
The chef expressed the same sentiments here in the U.S. when he went to the so-called â€˜unhealthiest city in America,â€™ Huntington, W.Va., to shoot his â€˜Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolutionâ€™ series. With help from a local hospital, Oliver was able to raise tens of thousands of dollars to improve school meals in Huntington.
Among the top philanthropists in England
Oliver, 34, was speaking after it was reported that he will appear in 22nd place on the London Times Giving List, which estimates he has given Ã‚Â£2.7m to charity (more than $4 million in USD). His Fifteen restaurants support a charitable foundation that funds chef apprenticeships for disadvantaged young people. Now he’s planning to use profits from his restaurant operations to create â€˜a mechanism of food that schools can bid for,â€™ Oliver says.
“If, in terms of parents and teachers, they can put all their ducks in a row, then literally hundreds of thousands of pounds will be spent on that school,â€™ he says. â€˜It will build gardens, build school kitchens, give them seeds and fruit trees as well as teaching collateral including web sites, DVDs and conferences.”
Viva the Revolution.
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