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Tonight’s the official start of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” and I’ll be sitting riveted just like I was Sunday night during the sneak preview. The show has been getting a lot of buzz since then. Good, bad, defensive. I weighed in on the critics in a post earlier this week, and the commentary* has continued all week long. But what’s getting lost amid the snark is that we shouldn’t be treating our kids like mindless eating machines who aren’t worthy of real food. Children need nutrition, not government-subsidized calories disguised as nutrition. The only reason kids get stuck in the rut of eating so-called “kid food” like chicken nuggets and colored milk is because that’s what adults think kids eat. And adults think that because food marketers have made it so easy to turn off the common sense and reach for the quick fix.

There are some truly effective things happening with school food at the grassroots level. And it’s nice (though not nearly enough — not even close) that the U.S. Senate agriculture committee on Wednesday  approved the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which includes improvements in school lunch funding.

But we have miles to go. Serious, carbon-generating, long-haul-trucking kinds of miles. And if Oliver can keep people talking, that’s got to be a good thing.

* Two of the more thoughtful recent critiques, both from Civil Eats contributors: Debra Eschmeyer and Kerry Trueman.

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