February 5, 2011

LAUSD wimps out.

Jamie Oliver is passionate about teaching children to eat better. He revolutionized school food in the UK and his reality show “Food Revolution” had a very well received first season here in the US.

The first season had Jamie Oliver trying to change the minds of Huntington, West Virginia about how they see food. Huntington had come up in a CDC study as one of the unhealthiest cities in America. The show was naturally filled with conflict, as the citizens preferred fried and processed foods over Oliver’s healthy alternatives.

For his second season, Oliver decided to go to a larger city and work there. Los Angeles. After beginning to film at one school, LAUSD halted all filming and revoked his permits to film at another school because they were concerned about how the reality series would make them look.

Because of course, publicly stating that you’re afraid of looking bad won’t make you look bad.

He was outright denied access to regular LAUSD school and had been shooting at campuses that are operated by MLA Partner schools (which are under contract with LAUSD).

I’m sorry LAUSD. I know that reality shows thrive on conflict, but surely you could see that letting Food Revolution shoot at your schools would be a bonus? Jamie Oliver has been able to provide quality food at the same cost as processed meals, so there shouldn’t have been budgetary concerns. Even if individuals looked bad, it would have been easy enough to spin it in a positive direction- simply by saying that change is difficult, but you’re pleased with the results.

Ultimately, the losers in all this are the children. By publicly stating that you’re worried about how you’ll look, you’ve just told everyone that it’s okay to avoid trying something new (no matter how good for you it is) simply because it might change how others think of you. Which is exactly the message that everyone wants to send to kids, right?

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