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.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tyson Compton on final episode

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.

General thoughts of finale?
I will admit that watching the final episode was more emotional for me than I expected. For one thing, I didn’t want the show to be over. I’ve looked forward to each episode, and to seeing how Huntington would be portrayed and what new developments would be revealed. This deep, rich feeling of pride seemed to swell up inside me and I let myself be moved by the many individuals that passed through the show. I realize that I have a strong sentimental side, but it went beyond that. I’m still sort of sifting through those feelings and trying to figure them out, but I know that part of it was seeing so many factions in Huntington get behind this movement and show the country that we are not about to let some statistic define us, but that even though it may be difficult at times, we can and will work together to move ourselves forward. And I agree with Jamie’s sign off – this is not the end, it’s just the beginning.

Do you think the show accomplished anything?
I think the show accomplished a great deal, more than we may even realize right now. For one thing, it brought a critical factor front and center: this is the first generation that is not expected to live as long as their parents. How can that be ok in any way? It is unacceptable. We don’t need to waste time looking to place blame here or there, we need to take action. So we did. And being involved in the community, I see that we are on the verge of even greater progress. This is such a dynamic community, full of spirited and concerned individuals who are constantly working to improve the quality of life. Many of the changes and programs that are taking shape now would have happened in Huntington anyway, but Jamie’s presence, and this show, just catapulted them along and gave us a unifying theme.

Also, I continue to hear from individuals across the country who are expressing their support of Jamie, Huntington and the Revolution. Most of these folks are already making changes to their diet by reforming their shopping, cooking and eating habits. I think that Jamie’s Food Revolution will be mentioned for years to come as being the catalyst for this great and positive change.

Now that the show is over and the media coverage fades, will the community sustain the changes?

Now the million dollar question is can the community sustain the changes. I emphatically answer yes. I realize there are still a lot of issues to be addressed and still a lot of red tape to be cut up and trashed. And obviously for the schools money will be a big issue. It is not cut and dry by any means. But after seeing what has happened so far, seeing what is possible, and knowing that so many people truly do care about improving the diets, and subsequently the lives, of our children, I know we can do it. I have made a personal commitment myself to make a change in my own diet and food selection. And I’m making a commitment of my time to be part of the Healthy Huntington initiative. I’m also calling next week to sign up as a volunteer at Huntington’s Kitchen. I’ll continue to see how I can be actively involved in making this change a reality. How could I not do that? A friend jokingly told me last week that I find something good in every situation. I don’t think I have a Pollyanna complex. I would just rather have someone say I told you so if it did fail than be any less than 100% behind it in order to make it happen. And let me tell you, I’m not one who likes hearing I told you so!

Are you disappointed that the show didn’t feature Ritter Park or any of the 5K events we regularly do?

Initially I was very disappointed that the show wasn’t addressing the many positive programs that were already in place here. We have an incredible park system, state of the art health facilities with the YMCA and Marshall University’s Rec Center and even the Huntington Museum of Art has a wonderful walking trail. The Paul Ambrose Trail has had my support since I learned of it over a year ago. The Community Gardens that have been developed with the help of Jennifer Williams, Tim White and many others are phenomenal. Sporting activities and races abound. And the list goes on and on.

I still think that it would have been nice to feature some of those in the show. But I came to see that it wasn’t an issue of exercise or activity. This show was solely focused on diet, and choosing healthy options with fresh ingredients, while stressing the need to move away from processed food. I can still have my favorite dish of fried chicken. I’ll just select fresh meat and use olive oil.
I support Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution! And I ask that you please do so as well.