Let’s Kickstart Food Education

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By Laurie David

This is the first generation of American children expected to live shorter lives than their parents.

If that’s not a call to action, I don’t know what is.

It’s what moved me four years ago to partner with Katie Couric and Director Stephanie Soechtig to produce the film Fed Up, so that every American would learn “the inconvenient truth” about the food we eat. It’s a painful prediction that leaves me unsatisfied with the pace of change, despite the overwhelming response to Fed Up from parents and their children across the country. Thousands of you came out to see the film in theaters and thousands more downloaded it on iTunes. You organized screenings and events in your homes and communities. You used to the film to lobby your elected officials, school boards, and local businesses. Most inspiring for us was to see how many of you signed up for the Fed Up Challenge. More than 65,000 people went sugar-free for 10 days.

But it’s not nearly enough.

Katie, Stephanie, and I made a promise to ourselves that we wouldn’t stop until every classroom in America had a copy of Fed Up. We knew that whatever success we had with the film wouldn’t translate into lasting change until every teacher, student, and parent had the opportunity to see Fed Up and weigh the information in the film against the relentless miseducation campaign they’ve been getting from the food industry. Only then might we start to turn the tide on this public health epidemic.

FOOD (MIS) EDUCATION. There’s a well-funded and efficient system at work every day educating kids about food. The problem is, it’s the food industry that’s doing the teaching, and America’s children are passively picking up lessons from this massive marketing machine. On every screen, from every device, kids are learning the virtues of sugary drinks, junk food, candy, and cereal. When young students are served cheese-fries and coke in the cafeteria, and their teachers aren’t given the time and resources to provide a thorough food education, a message about priorities comes through loud and clear.

REAL FOOD EDUCATION. The good news is that there’s a global movement at hand to take back food education from giant food conglomerates and Washington lobbyists and give educators the tools they need to teach children about food, where it comes from, and how it affects their bodies. Jamie Oliver and his partners at Food Revolution Day are leading the charge.

As the makers of Fed Up, we are determined to do our part. We’ve heard from countless parents, students, and teachers about how Fed Up has inspired them to change and so many have encouraged us to make the film widely available to schools. Too many teachers found that their own school lacked the funding to purchase a copy of the film for the library and they were left with no choice but to go out of pocket. This was frustrating to hear. What we’ve found is that the entire system for distributing films like Fed Up to schools is slow and bureaucratic. It costs too much, it takes too long, and it reaches too few classrooms.

So we sat down with our distribution partners and asked how can we make a free copy of this film available right away to every teacher in America who wants one? We came up with what we think is a great plan. Now we need your help to make it happen.

Today we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to send a free Fed Up Food Education kit to every teacher in the country who signs up.

This doesn’t have to be the first generation of American children to live shorter lives than their parents. There’s still time to prove that prediction wrong.

I’m calling you to action. Go to our Kickstarter page and do your part to bring food education to every American classroom.

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