It must be a sign of the times that Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution” won an Emmy for best reality show at the end of August.

Produce enjoys a golden moment

Chuck Robinson
Media Watch

The judges turned up their noses at “Antiques Roadshow” on PBS, “Dirty Jobs” and “MythBusters” on the Discovery Channel, “Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List” on Bravo and “Undercover Boss” on CBS.

The series was six episodes that aired in the spring during which Oliver threw himself into changing how schools in Huntington, W. Va., prepared food for kids and teaching hefty consumers how to eat more healthfully.

The Emmy nod put Oliver on the Sunday morning program “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” where Oliver showed his gift for staying on message.

As Armanpour noted, in July the Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act by unanimous consent. The parties go at it on so many issues but not this one.

Even though it is being counted as a big win for first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative aimed at fighting childhood obesity, requested funding was cut to $4.5 billion over 10 years for federal child nutrition programs, including school lunches.

Or, as Oliver mentioned, about 7 cents a child.

However, if the House consents and it is signed into law, it will be the first time in 30 years the federal government has increased funding for the programs.

Local connection

The last weekend in August, I and Packer staff writer Ashley Bentley attended a first-time fundraiser for three area nonprofit agencies that promote locally grown food. I met some people with Sysco Corp. and regional retailer Balls Food Stores as well as a transportation services provider and some growers.

This summer I also have been attending Food Not Lawns classes, which exhort people to plow up their lawns and plant vegetables. Among the other students I found anxious consumers alarmed about vague threats. Some of what they parroted got tedious and tough to rebut.

Interspersed with alarmist politics were a few gardening tips, and students united in disgust of squash bugs.

These are all signs that we are in a golden moment for marketing produce. We must remind ourselves things are improving for the produce industry even as wild rants accost us from worried consumers who are helping this moment to happen.

The industry offers the best, most healthful food anywhere. When raising their own food turns out tougher than they think, consumers will slow down their shopping carts in grocery store produce aisles.

E-mail crobinson@thepacker.com

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