Locals review "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution"
"Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" focuses on Oliver's efforts in Huntington in 2009 to promote healthier eating habits by encouraging food preparation from fresh ingredients. Those efforts were focused on local schools, families and a kitchen to teach people how to cook. Each week, we will have local residents weigh in on the episodes.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tyson Compton, a native of Louisa, Ky., has served as president of the Cabell-Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau since February 2009. Compton came to Huntington from the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, where he was marketing director for 14 years. Prior to that, he was marketing director for a magazine publishing group in Los Angeles. Compton serves on the boards of Leadership Tri-State, the Southeast Tourism Society, Boyd County Foundation for Children, Youth Leadership and Clear Channel Radio Local Advisory Board. He is also a member of Huntington Rotary and is actively involved with Create Huntington. He is a graduate of Community Leadership Development, a member of ACTC/OU Diversity Committee and a member of the Country Music Highway Action Team.

What was the fifth episode’s theme?

In the fifth episode, Jamie is honing in on making his Food Revolution a permanent fixture in Cabell County Schools. He has presented in his case in the previous episodes and is now looking for the financial backing that will cement the program.

What wasn’t addressed?
To be such an important component, I feel like the issue of raising the money and securing the funding from Cabell Huntington Hospital was not brought out enough. It is evident that Doug Sheils and the hospital have the best interests of the community at heart, so I would like to have seen more of what transpired in that area.

Also, there are several times that we learn changes can’t be made in the schools because of state regulations. What are those regulations and how can they be addressed?

How were Huntington/ the school system portrayed?
I think Huntington was positively portrayed by having community leaders who care deeply about how we are perceived and showing that the designation of being the unhealthiest town is not accurate but has been generalized through erroneous and careless reporting
. The two Cabell County Schools that are featured continue to be impressive by showing their true concern for student’s welfare. The officials, including Rhonda, the cooks and school leaders are an inspiration in that they don’t let what was done in the past get in the way of progress and change. I know it cannot have been easy to invite the production into the schools or to challenge standard procedures. But they truly shine as an example for other school systems and I applaud them.

Any progress made?
Progress continued in this fifth episode. Not only did the school system open up for more changes, but the students seemed to be moving along as well. I liked Jamie’s comment that we sometimes underestimate young people by thinking for them. Hearing the kids say that they preferred being given a choice and seeing them accept the healthier options was amazing. And as I looked at the shining faces of the kids at Central City, I was overwhelmed with emotion. This is what a movement like this is all about – standing up and being willing to say that what we are doing now is not good for our children, and thereby being able to offer them a better future.

And I think that Alice spoke for a lot of people, both in the community and across the country, when she said that Jamie has some good ideas and that his heart is in the right place.

Is the Revolution working?

From what I have seen in the episodes presented, I would say that yes, the Revolution is working. Even though the steps may be small, the program has moved forward. If nothing else, being aware of what processed foods are doing to our and our young people’s diets is a positive thing. And knowing what obstacles the school system and its personnel have to overcome to make the smallest change, it is heartening to see their willingness to move forward.