Friday, June 12, 2009

60 Minutes: Lesley Stahl Interviews Alice Waters- The Edible Schoolyard

Gentle yet persistent is how one might describe Alice Waters, who is the Executive Chef and Owner of the finest restaurants, Chez Panisse (it's 37 years old). It has long been her philosophy that we should be eating fresh, locally grown, organic food. As Stahl reports, "It's not just the cooking that has made her famous: it's the ingredients. She was one of the first to serve antibiotic and hormone free meats and insist on fresh, organic, locally-grown fruits and vegetables". You may also know her as the "Mother of the Slow Food Movement" and the lady that has been pushing for an edible landscape at the White House for years.

Waters has come under criticism for this- some calling her elitist. Her response, "We make decisions everyday about what we're going to eat. And some people want to buy Nike shoes - two pairs, and other people want to eat Bronx grapes, and nourish themselves. I pay a little extra, but this is what I want to do." She also states that, "good food is a right- not a privilege" and everyone to be able to eat organic, pesticide and herbicide free food. The criticisms seems to be lessening these days since her ideas are now resonating with the general public due to the abundance of health problems, which have been equated to our diets.

Her new program, "The Edible Schoolyard", is an effort to bring kids into a new relationship with food. Waters got a local middle school in Berkeley to create a course where kids learn about growing food right on the school grounds. She is teaching children how to have a good healthy garden- they learn about such things as compost and crab grass. They also learn to cook what they've grown. For many kids it's the first time they've had fresh, organic food- not to mention food that they've grown.

It really great to see more and more people becoming aware of the benefits of local, organic foods- not only for ourselves, but also the environment. As Lesley Stahl puts it, when asked what she thinks about Waters' philosophy, "she's right".

I thought this interview was very inspiring! I may not be able to pick my food fresh from my yard everyday, but I do try to eat the freshest food possible... focusing on local and organic. And I consume quite a bit of whole foods- greens, veggies and fruits on a daily basis. I gave up my microwave about 2 years ago and haven't missed it at all. If you really want to - you can do it. Just keep adding in more of the good stuff.

The segment episode is below. You can find "Stahl's Reporter Notebook" HERE and the transcript HERE.

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