WESTBROOK – A revolution is coming to Westbrook later this month – a “Food Revolution.”

The Westbrook Community Center will host a local event for the first-ever worldwide “Food Revolution Day,” a concept spurred on by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, on Saturday, May 19, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Through his Jamie Oliver Foundation, Oliver has launched Food Revolution Day, which is described as “a global day of action to inspire, educate, and empower people everywhere to stand up for real food.”

The events, which include the Westbrook program, called “Make a Ruckus for Real Food,” are designed to raise awareness on preventing diet-related diseases, and to arm people with the knowledge and tools to make healthier food choices. There is also a focus on getting kids to make healthier food choices.

In Westbrook, there will be yoga demonstrations, demonstrations on the importance of exercise, a chance for kids to make their own trail mix and other activities.

While Oliver won’t be appearing in Westbrook, local chefs will be at the event showing ways to make healthy, wholesome food that kids will enjoy.

“The goal is to increase kids’ awareness of the food around them,” said chef Erin Dow in an interview on WCSH6–NEWSCENTER, Current Publishing’s media partner. “Talk to kids and see what they are willing to eat. A lot of times, they might surprise you.”

Dow has been working to bring healthy food awareness to kids in the area. She works with the Guiding Stars program, which is used locally at Hannaford supermarkets to give shoppers an easy-to-understand guide to the nutritional value of foods for sale.

Dow said she is looking forward to taking part in Food Revolution Day because as a chef and a mother, she knows how important it is to introduce kids to healthy food choices.

“I am proud to be part of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day,” said Dow in a release. “As a mother of three, I understand how much education makes a difference in any lesson we try to teach, including the important lessons in making healthy food choices. Through Food Revolution Day, we can work together to empower children to make educated choices on what foods they choose to consume.”

Dow has been working with the Windham School Department to help introduce healthy, freshly cooked meals into the school lunch program, and Jeanne Reilly, Windham’s director of school nutrition, said the response from the kids to the new foods has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s really exciting,” she said in a WCSH6 interview, adding that in one school, participation in the school lunch program jumped up 400 percent after Dow introduced new recipes and menu items, which the school lunch staff has been continuing to prepare.

Dow said that events like Food Revolution Day are important because they help spread the word about the importance of nutrition to both kids and adults.

“Bottom line, kids will accept new foods when they’re exposed to them and sufficiently educated about them,” said Dow in a release. “Food Revolution Day will help us raise awareness and better educate our community on making healthy eating decisions.”

For more information on the event, visit www.foodrevolutionday.com.


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