June 9, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra
So perhaps you’ve heard already, but it seems as though America (and I think the developed world in general) is facing something of a health crisis. The population seems to be getting more obese, diabetic, hypertensive, and susceptible to cardiovascular, metabolic, digestive, and oncological disease. Scary graphs and charts are starting to sink in, and people are starting to take notice. Some people think that stricter regulation is the answer – more restrictions on what we can eat, or how much – but frankly, I see that sort of thing as a treatment of symptoms, rather than a cure that addresses the source of the problem (I’m also not so thrilled about the notion of removing peoples’ ability to choose). What I think is needed is education – a population able to choose freely, but wisely, about what to eat, drink and how to care for themselves, if they choose to care at all. I think that given the right information, most people would make that choice, and we wouldn’t be so quick to legislate or mandate rules on behavior or lifestyle. What if we had a population who not only knows what real food is, but who also understands why it’s better. What if that population actually then had the tools – and perhaps more importantly, the knowledge – to support the behavior they knew to be better for them? That sounds to me like a world with fewer laws and fewer heart attacks. It’s a world envisioned by the people behind today’s project, and one that I hope you’ll help make real.
The Food Lab at Walker Jones Education Campus is a classroom for hands-on, mouths-open learning. In the heart of Washington, D.C., the Food Lab supports a “farm-to-fork” education for a high-poverty population – teaching everything there is to know about food in a practical way, starting from their garden and moving into their kitchen classroom. Kristy McCarron has been volunteering there for almost a year, and has witnessed the remarkable enthusiasm that the kids have for growing, cooking and learning to eat and live well. Now she wants to join the Walker Jones team on a full-time basis and bring in some much-needed tools to fortify the Food Lab.
…We believe that the students at Walker Jones would benefit most from learning to build a healthy relationship and understanding of the food we eat, where it comes from, and what it can do for our bodies.
I can say very honestly that learning to cook changed my life. (For the better.) I think that at the heart of the health crisis is a crisis in education – a lack of awareness and understanding for what and how healthy lives can be lived by everyone. The Food Lab is showing kids from even the most poverty-stricken parts of the nation that they too can eat well, live well and be well, and are more than just future statistics of preventable death. This project has only a week left and a long way to go, but I hope you’ll join the mission to build a nation of well-fed brains by backing The Food Lab on Kickstarter before June 16.