"Properly, with love, from scratch": Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

Radical History Review 06/2011; 2011(110):178-191. DOI: 10.1215/01636545-2010-033


What to eat is of great concern to the U.S. public; it is the subject of social organizing at many scales and the focus of significant academic discussion. This article analyzes Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution (JOFR), a much-discussed reality show that aired in 2010 in the United States, in which English celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, well known in the United Kingdom for directing government and public attention to school lunch, brought his campaign to promote fresh-cooked food to Huntington, West Virginia. We recognize the capacity of JOFR to encourage people to act on behalf of their and their loved ones' health, as well as to become engaged politically to change the food system, and in this article, we provide a sympathetic critique of themes and methods emphasized by Oliver in his efforts to spark a food revolution. Specifically, our critique points to JOFR's similarity to past food reform efforts; the shaming of the overweight; the focus on a particular form of whiteness that masks the work of race, food, and health; the show's arbitrary designation of authentic food; and JOFR's promotion of heroic, antagonistic change. A food revolution, we argue, needs to engage with structural aspects of the food system through collective action.

173 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the developed world, child overweight and obesity rates are highest among the disadvantaged. This has resulted in calls for more research with low socio-economic families to better understand their experiences with disadvantage and how they might lead to poorer weight outcomes. The present study, conducted in Australia, adopted a qualitative approach to investigate the factors affecting low socio-economic parents' child-feeding practices. Methods used to collect data were introspections, interviews and focus groups. In total, 37 parents of overweight or obese children aged between 5 and 9 years took part in the 6-month study. Guilt emerged as an emotion that parents regularly experienced when allowing their children to consume too much food or foods high in fat, salt and/or sugar. Parents attributed their guilt-inducing child-feeding practices to both external and internal factors. Time scarcity and cost were factors that were primarily characterized by an external locus of control. The factors characterized by an internal locus of control were fear of their children experiencing hunger, the perceived need to secure their children's affection through the provision of treat foods, perceptions of their ability to balance their children's diets across eating situations and perceived laziness. Recommendations are provided for addressing guilt-inducing child-feeding practices.
    Maternal and Child Nutrition 06/2012; 10(3). DOI:10.1111/j.1740-8709.2012.00425.x · 3.06 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Studies of 'food deserts', neighborhoods in which healthy food is expensive and/or difficult to find, have received much recent political attention. These studies reflect the popularity of a social ecology in public health, rising concerns over an obesity 'epidemic', and the increasing ease of spatial analysis using geographic information systems (GIS). This paper critically examines these areas, arguing that work on food deserts is a spatialized form of neoliberal paternalism that bounds health problems within low-income communities. Alternative analyses of the urban food landscape, based on work in political ecology and critical GIS, may suggest more equitable paths forward.
    Progress in Human Geography 03/2013; 38(2):248-266. DOI:10.1177/0309132513484378 · 4.39 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In recent debates surrounding childhood nutrition and US school lunch reforms, the child's body serves as a contested battleground in a destructive politics of blame over obesity and diabetes. Scalar discourses of the body play a significant role in constructing food-related problems and their solutions. We illustrate our claims through a critical analysis of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution; a celebrated national television program centered on chef Oliver's attempts to address childhood nutrition through school lunch reform. Informed by Foucault's biopolitics, our analysis highlights how moralizing scalar discourses of the body frames nutrition as an individual problem of personal choice. Food politics, when played out at the scale of young bodies, masks class divisions, marginalities, and governmental policies that structure access to nutritious food in the US school lunch system. Increased attention to biopower, scalar politics, and the political economy of childhood nutrition in the space of US public schooling challenges naturalized ideologies of food choice that regulate and delimit change to the scale of the body.
    Children s Geographies 08/2013; 13(1). DOI:10.1080/14733285.2013.827875 · 1.16 Impact Factor
Show more