Colin’s Food Revolution | Part 3: The School Meeting

Colin with his Food Revolution Planning Binder

The final installment of this series (for now) is about Colin’s Food Revolution meeting at school. Over the past few months, Colin has been working with someone else who feels as strongly about the food options offered to students: Mrs. P, the school nurse.

There’s reading, writing, and arithmetic, but I think this learning experience is perhaps more important than any of them.  Mrs. P has taken it upon herself to mentor Colin through this process. She and Colin talked about what they could do, what they should do and how to go about it. Together, and with the aide of Jamie Oliver’s planning guide, they came up with goals and a plan to achieve them. Mrs. P coordinated a meeting with the district’s school lunch general manager and one of his colleagues.

I helped Colin set an agenda and accumulate data. He went though the lunch menus for the past three months. He tallied the number of times pizza was offered as well as other highly processed foods like chicken nuggets, chicken patties and mozzarella sticks, and then everything else. The “other” category, although not made from fresh ingredients, at least included items that appeared to be an attempt at more healthy options.

Here’s a summary of that data:

School lunch options offered over three months

If you watched the first show of the Food Revolution television series, you saw kids in school eating pizza for breakfast. I was shocked.  I was even more surprised to see it on the menu of my children’s schools. My kids eat breakfast at home and bring lunch to school, so I hadn’t paid any attention to the school menu. Not until Colin showed me.

The above chart depicts only lunch options, but you can see that pizza is offered for almost one of every two lunches served.  Two-thirds of all lunches are highly processed foods.

At the time of the meeting I was running errands, but was completely distracted knowing Colin, at the ripe old age of ten, was making the first presentation of his life of this importance. Both Colin and Mrs. P told me how it went.  Here are the highlights:

  • Colin thanked everyone for meeting with him, explained who he was and why healthy food options at school were important to him.
  • The food service representatives explained what progress they have made to improve the quality of the food at school.
  • They discussed the current menu and compared it to Jamie Oliver’s two week menu plan. Colin explained the merits of serving meals prepared from fresh ingredients and the impact it has on children and their ability to learn.
  • They talked about forming a student council to meet monthly to address food issues.
  • They debated to some extent what constitutes a healthy meal. Colin was asked about what he eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All parties agreed there was room for improvement in the school’s menu.
  • They discussed surveying the student population to see what things people would like to see on the menu and to assess interest in healthier options.
  • Colin was tasked to come up with the number one thing he would like to see removed from the menu, and the first meal he would like to add to replace it.

My perception is that it was a productive start to planting “a seed of change” and the food service people were open to further discussion. But it was also clear that Colin was dealing with a for-profit company. Their conversation gravitated to the bottom line. They talked about expenses and what menu items sell the most. Healthier foods are more costly. Kids buy pizza and lots of it.

Colin remains undeterred. He will continue to meet, plan and execute with Mrs. P. He is determined to see the above chart move to a pie of complete yellow, where yellow represents meals made from fresh foods.  He has me, Mrs. P and Jamie Oliver behind him. He has much work ahead of him.

Colin, there isn’t a day that goes by that you don’t do something that makes me proud. This day was certainly no exception.

Colin’s Food Revolution | Part 1: Flash Mob

Colin’s Food Revolution | Part 2: Pass It On

29 Replies to “Colin’s Food Revolution | Part 3: The School Meeting”

  1. I tell you, the kid is going to change the world. I have ABSOLUTELY no doubt about it! I was bummed yesterday that Mrs. P made the walking club announcement instead of Colin!

  2. This is great! He has a lot of courage at 10! A lot of 10 year old kid would be intimidated to give a presentation to adults! Colin seriously impresses me! 🙂

    I really hope that Jamie is paying attention…. I think a visit to Colin would be in order! 🙂

    1. I think part of the reason Colin has courage to give a presentation to adults is because his family, based on their flash mob videos, obviously supports and encourages the kids to do and try things. Many families would discourage anything out of the norm or say it was too difficult, or worry that people wouldn’t like it, etc. The way they raise their kids to be comfortable in front of adults is great. And they are respectful as well. This is a necessary partner to being in front of adults, or things would break down fast. I was impressed, touched, and encouraged with what Colin has and is doing. Thanks for sharing!

  3. how heart-warming is this?!!!! what an experience for him and everyone involved. Lorraine, it must be such a pleasure to sit back and watch, while one of your kids takes on the “establishment”…just a preview of what’s to come in his life!! we could sure use his drive around our school too!

    …and to think…he’s a great ballplayer too!…a bonus : )

  4. On behalf of Andrew I would like to thank Colin. If school lunches were made from fresh ingredients, Andrew would be able to eat them much more often. Because of all the processed food they serve, he is very limited due to his food allergies, which is actually fine with me. We need to get back to eating what our earth provides, not man made garbage. Go Colin!!!

  5. I’m so impressed. This is really wonderful work to read about. It would be great if it were an adult doing it, but the fact that a 10-year old is leading the charge is just fabulous (and something of a wake-up call). Sorry Lorraine, I know you have a lot going on, but it may be time to start “This is Colin…” 🙂

  6. Lo-
    I am proud of Colin! What an amazing kid. I hope the food service people listen to Colin and Ms. P! our children deserve fesh food.

  7. You must be an AMAZING mom to have raised such wonderful children. It sounds like Colin has a good head on his shoulders…a natural born leader! I don’t think I would have ever had the guts to try and do something like this when I was his age. 🙂

  8. What a rock star! I am so proud of him! Our school just started a healthier menu. Even though Pizza is still every wed…they always have a fresh salad bar now. It has been a huge success, especially since a lot of the salad ingrediants come from the school garden. Good luck on your endeavor! Your efforts are SO worth it!

  9. I am so proud of Colin for all of the work he is putting into this mission. And I’m thrilled that he has such wonderful help from Mrs. P and from you. I think the three of you make an incredible team!!!! I hope he sees some change in the school menus and I hope Jamie Oliver reads your posts and sees how his revolution is spreading!!

  10. Hi Lorraine,
    I work for Jamie Oliver on his Food Revolution campaign and we love what Colin has been doing.Please could you email me.Look forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you,

  11. I love the food revolution idea. Diabetic kids do learn so many important lessons. I love that he is sharing what he has learned and advocating for healthier lunches. Hope that you both are having a wonderful summer.

  12. My goodness, your boys are cute! I have followed the Jamie Oliver stuff with great interest and a smile on my face. The flash mob video was fantastic. Kudos to your boy for getting into this. We live just an hour from the pub that Jamie’s parents own and the food there is great too! Jamie is a young man with a lot of energy and a heart in abolutely the right place. Have you thought of sending your blog posts to Jamie’s company? He’d love to see the influence reaching far and wide.

  13. How incredible! You family (but Colin mostly) has inspired me (a type 1 diabetic who is pregnant) to completely go back to the basics! Thank you! I started watching the YouTube videos of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and I love it! It’s great. It’s way past midnight and I watched at least 2 or 3 episodes. I am inspired! Thanks for posting about this mom! I hope you get in contact with Letty from Jamie’s campaign and you blog to tell us all about it! I can’t wait to tell hubby about this.

  14. WOW! I’m 28 and don’t think I’d have the courage Colin does! I’m passionate about healthy food…I actually cried when I watched the first episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and he showed what school lunch consists of, and I’m fighting back the tears (in my office) after reading the three parts of Colin’s Food Revolution. Colin sounds like an incredible child, and I am confident he can inspire the change he hopes for! I don’t yet have children, but I hope the school lunch system will be reformed by the time I do…and if my kids can be half as courageous and brilliant as Colin, I’ll be a happy mom. 🙂

    Kudos to you and the wonderful children you’ve raised!

  15. Way to go, Colin! And way to go, Mom! I’m so impressed, and so happy to see more people passionate about making good, healthy choices.

  16. Unbelievable….I’ve always been taught “garbage in, garbage out”…& Jamie has proven this over & over. Now Colin is paying it forward with the same message. How funny is it that I do cakes…one of the “not so healthy” things you can eat…lol! But you have to splurge sometimes…& birthdays are one of those days. I am on the JO train….my kids only eat school lunches once a week. Not only is it junk, but it’s expensive junk. I may as well send them to school with a Snickers Bar.
    My kids like brussells sprouts, peas, green beans, carrots, corn, broccoli, etc…..quite honestly, they don’t LIKE most of the schools lunches. But I also hate giving them lunch meat….they’ve even nixed the BREAD! They just want a roll of lunch meat & colby jack cheese! Kudos to them….but the lunch meat isn’t so great either.
    We will work on that…..but I’ve noticed Colin doing these things on his birthday……

    I am offering to make his cake, free of charge, next year. He is well deserving of such an effort, what with all the effort he is putting into JO Rev….God bless him & his commitment to Jaimie’s Rev….please see me on Facebook….Crazy Cakes….look for the African Tree Frog as the profile pic. That’s me 🙂

    WAY TO GO, COLIN! UR THE MAN!!!!!!! Ur doing a good thing for all kids everywhere…..& showing them how FUN cooking can be 🙂 And how healthy it can be!!!!! LOL!!!! Keep up the good work….

  17. This series of posts was so inspiring I’m getting a little misty-eyed! He gives me so much hope for our future and has reminded of what a big impact individual efforts have. The way you have supported him says a lot about your parenting!

  18. Hi Lorraine,

    I think it’s wonderful that a 10 year old boy cares so much about what he eats as well as his family and friends. If you have a moment, I would love some suggestions on what you send in your kid’s school lunches from home. I send lunch for mine, but I don’t always make the best choices. I wasn’t taught to cook growing up so I’m not that great with food, but I want to do better for my children. Thanks and best of luck with Colin’s food revolution!

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