Monday, September 18, 2006

Rebuild The Ancient Walls

This is my 500th post on this blog-site. And what better way to mark the occasion than to write about the on-going adventures of Jamie Oliver in his quest to help us re-imagine? Tonight saw the first episode of his return to the campaign to address childhood obesity and related health/educational/social factors, by turning around standards in the provision of school dinners – and attitudes towards, and provision of, food in the home.

Jamie’s latest idea – as always, simple to conceive, and far harder to bring to fruition – is to link-up local producers with local pubs and/or restaurants to cook for local schools that have no kitchens. This makes sense economically, both from the point-of-view of the school budget – wholesale produce is far cheaper than supermarket equivalents – and in terms of fostering the local economy, potentially creating local jobs, certainly investing in local businesses. But more than that, what Jamie is trying to do is to foster community taking responsibility for being community – where the pub owner and the head-teacher see that they can work together to address a significant problem. And that is hard – even in the first episode we see resistance – because our sense of community has been so broken down; everyone has their head down, trying to survive, or get richer, or whatever it may be…

But, as Martin Luther King taught us, a society can change (though always in an incomplete way)…and that change starts with one person who can articulate a vision – a dream – that starts to resonate with the frustrations of others, in a hope-full way. Jamie Oliver would seem to be one such visionary.

I’d love to see church communities deciding to get on board with this campaign, and others like it, that seek to join those who live and work alongside each other into a fuller community. Not trying to take over; or set up a parallel; but seeking to serve in whatever way is most appropriate…

UPDATE: my mistake - this was a stand-alone follow-up to the original series, and not the first of a new series.

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