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Why Doesn't the Los Angeles Unified School District Want Jamie Oliver's Help? Why Doesn't the Los Angeles Unified School District Want Jamie Oliver's Help?
Education

Why Doesn't the Los Angeles Unified School District Want Jamie Oliver's Help?

by Liz Dwyer

January 14, 2011

The second season of Jamie Oliver's hit reality series Food Revolution is heading to Los Angeles—but you won't see any of the city's public schools on camera. The Los Angeles Unified School District is refusing to allow Oliver to film in any of its cafeterias.

Oliver told the Los Angeles Times, "I can’t get my foot into a single school. Which is a bit of a shame really. It just doesn’t seem in the interest of the public really. It’s not a great start for me, to be honest.”

Food Revolution seeks to combat obesity by getting kids and their families to eat fresh, healthy food. The first season was set in Huntington, West Virginia, and won an Emmy Award.

Oliver believes the district refused his filming request over worries that they'll look bad on TV, but he says his intention isn't to cast anyone as a food villain.

LAUSD spokeman Robert Alaniz disagrees. “Reality TV has a formula. You either have to have drama or create conflict to be successful. We’re not interested in either," he said.

In contrast, Huntington School District spokesman Jedd Flowers says that even though the change to making school lunches from scratch was tough, "We want to be on the right side of history,”

Los Angeles's school children certainly could use Oliver's help. Most LAUSD cafeterias serve things like pizza, tater tots, and bean burritos, and according to the latest CDC study, only 20 percent of Los Angeles high school students eat fruit or vegetables five times per day.

Despite LAUSD's refusal, Oliver is pressing ahead the second season of Food Revolution because "what happens in schools in food is an incredible weapon or problem in terms of the obesity epidemic." Instead of filming in cafeterias, he plans to follow families, grocery stores, and fast food vendors. 

Photo (cc) Flickr user Scandic Hotels

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