Beijing’s very own healthy foods community organization, Farm to Neighbors, convened its first Jamie Oliver Food Revolution event last week. If you recall, beijingkids attended the Farm to Neighbors Call to Action meeting on May 19th, the official Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Day. We wrote about the volunteers’ brainstorming session led by Farm to Neighbors, as each attempted to envision how they could educate the local Beijing community.
So what is Farm to Neighbors’ led Food Revolution aiming to educate us on? Exactly what they have always been teaching us about:
- Food education (especially on nutrition and healthy eating)
- Where our food comes from (how it’s produced)
- How the “public health crisis” (of growing percentages of obesity in younger and younger children, along with other food related illnesses), is not just a Western concept. Most importantly, how eating right can prevent the onslaught of obesity and various related conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease (the number one killer in developed countries).
Specifically, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (JOFR) is a public call to action, encouraging everyone to petition schools on changing food policies in cafeterias (school lunches), etc. However, Erica Huang, founder of Farm to Neighbors, emphasizes that the local version of JOFR is not a public call to action, for obvious reasons. Instead, the goals of the entirely volunteer-based movement are to educate the Beijing Chinese and international community on the fundamental points of JOFR.
The first Food Revolution event of the series took place on Sunday, June 19th, a month after the initial planning meeting. It was hosted by Farm to Neighbors and the Beijing Mindfulness Centre (BMC) at the YOGASUMMIT (at the Grand Summit, above the regular Farm to Neighbors market). The bilingual workshops were on Mindful Eating Practices, with a kids’ session (ages 6-14) and an adult session, lasting two hours in total.
The goal of the children’s workshop was to help children experience slowness, learn how to establish a relationship with food, and understand the differences between Hunger, Appetite, and Emotional eating. BMC states that by mastering mindful eating, children will grow up with the long-term benefits of reduced anxiety and depression, as well as a better relationship with parents, teachers, and peers.
The session began with tasting little bits of food very, very slowly. While the kids’ savored their tiny portions of dark chocolate, cucumber, and carrot (all from the Farm to Neighbors market), Dalida Turkovic, founder of BMC, explained the origins of the food they were eating. Using enlarged photos, Turkovic described how the food is grown, processed, and made into what’s on the kids’ plates. Children were surprised to learn that chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which are large and grow on trees!
The purpose of the mindful eating practice session is therefore not just to slow down while you eat and really taste what is put in your mouth, but to also observe and think about where one’s food comes from and how it’s made. By learning such habits, children will eventually be able to make better food choices.
For our readers, Turkovic has a few recommendations on how to inspire mindful eating at home:
- Establish your own mindful eating practices.
- Be playful and make it fun!
- Keep it simple.
- Avoid a punishment and rewards approach.
- Let your children know that “emotions are like the weather”. Talk openly about emotions and help them notice that they are constantly changing.
Sound advice, and similar to what a nutritionist recommended to us previously on inspiring healthy eating habits in our children!
The next JOFR meeting in the Farm to Neighbors’ series is titled: The Future of Foodie, and takes place on Friday June 24, from 2:30-4:30pm at The Hatchery. The RMB 20 entrance fee includes a drink from the Hatchery. For more information, follow the Farm to Neighbors WeChat, which now provides news blasts on the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution movement (including a summary of the recent Eat Stockholm Food Forum) and find out more about how Farm to Neighbors can help revolutionize your eating habits!
Photos: courtesy of Farm to Neighbors (WeChat), Jamie Oliver Food Revolution