The second season of Jamie Oliver’s ABC TV series Food Revolution makes the show’s name ring even truer, as the lovable Brit finds himself taking on public officials in the city of Angels.
When the Los Angeles Unified School District caught wind that Jamie was headed to LA schools to look at their lunch menus, he was immediately banned from any school before he stepped off his flight. (This is in stark contrast to the locale of Season 1: Huntington, WV, which embraced Oliver and his healthy food campaign during the show’s first season).
The LA School District said they did not object to Oliver’s pro-health message. They just didn’t want cameras in schools and the inevitable “drama” that comes with reality television.
Oliver suspected that their motives were more self-serving. In an interview on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Oliver fired back:
“I think, basically, they don’t want me washing their dirty laundry in public. I’m a firm believer when it’s public money and public service and your taxes pay for it. Then, maybe, transparency is quite a good thing in a democracy.”
One area school, the West Adams Preparatory High School, acted independently and invited Oliver to help them make their cafeteria offerings healthier, noting that more than half their students are obese. The welcome was short lived though; the District found out and Jamie was given the boot after just two weeks.
This season of Food Revolution is only 2 episodes deep, and a lot of ground has been covered. Although there are many hoops to jump through, Jamie is charging on. In an effort to illustrate how un-healthy even the milk in schools can be, Oliver filled a school bus with 57 tons of sand to represent how much sugar LA students consume weekly in flavored milk alone.
But the biggest story coming out of the show might be the one behind the scenes. The way the LA School District has responded to Oliver underscores the fact that schools have a lot to answer for when it comes to what they are feeding kids.