Back in the autumn, our daughter's school was proud to be taking part in the Food Dudes initiative. This is a programme designed to encourage children to eat more fruit and vegetables and turn away from unhealthy eating habits such as junk food and snacks. Whilst we acknowledge the need for this aim, the approach is somewhat tedious at times and,in our opinion, feeds other problems that affect the younger generation -such as conditioning themfor a consumerist society as well as creating the expectancy of gaining areward every time objectives set by others are met.

The structure of theprogramme is as follows: The children watch a daily video or are read a letter from the Food Dude characters. The messages they give encourages them to eat fruit and vegetables and during the subsequent tasting session they are promised a "reward" if they eat one portion of a raw vegetable followed by one portion of fruit supplied by the Food Dudeprogramme. The preparation lacks any inspiration but with young children the promise of a plastic toy does all the work. After all, they only have toeat one raw carrot and one slice of fruit to get any of the items shown above. For aprimary school child, this appearsto besufficient motivation to wolf-down anything ranging froma floret of raw brocili orchunk of red red pepper, to an orange, tomato orsimilar non-sensical mixture.

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There appears to beno focus on presenting the fruit and veg in any other form. Just raw which you eatto get a toy or similar object manufactured the other side of the world (namely China).There is no focuson how the environment mightnot think too highly of this programme. After all, the manufacturing, packaging,shipping and distribution required by this programmedoes not fit well with it's needs. Especially since all of the items given as rewards are destined to become lost and forgotten at the bottom of a toy box just like all of theother plastic toys manufactured for a well known junk food supplier with whom many will be familiar. It's ironic that an anti-junk food campaign (aka "healthy eating") is using similar marketing strategies.

Any way, this was all several months ago. The Food Dude programme appears to have slipped by the wayside at school. They've run out of toys and no longer have time to stamp each child's hand every time they eat a carrot. Without the stamp there can be no reward. So the children slipped back to their old habits. All except our child. The unfortunate one who has links to the City Smallholder kitchen. The unfortunate one who knows freshness straight from the garden, has no need for a five-a-day count, and has a diet made up of at least four well-balanced, solelyvegetarian-based meals per week. But in spite of this she still liked the toys. They all do (for a while).

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Posted in Recreation and leisure Post Date 03/27/2021