Holding up some tomatoes, Oliver asked: “Do you know what these are?” He was met with stumped faces until one boy shouted: “Potatoes!”
Four years later, kids still don’t know where their food comes from.
A recent national survey, commissioned by Woolworths, found that a third of Australian children struggled to identify fruit and vegetables, and were confused about where produce came from.
The study, which surveyed 1601 Australian children aged between six and 17 years, revealed 92 per cent did not know bananas grew on plants.
Researchers also found that “six in 10 [children] are unaware that herbs such as mint grow from the ground”.
In 2012, a national study conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research found children were just as confused back then.
The survey, made up of year 6 and year 10 students, found holes in young people’s basic food knowledge.
“Three-quarters of Australian children in their final year of primary school believe cotton socks come from animals and 27 per cent are convinced yoghurt grows on trees,” reported Fairfax.
In fact, 75 per cent believed cotton was an animal product.
British primary school kids are just as clueless as Australian children.
In 2013, a British survey found that almost a third of the country’s primary school children thought cheese was made from plants and a quarter thought fish fingers came from chicken or pigs.
The poll, conducted by the British Nutrition Foundation, surveyed about 27,500 children aged between five and 16 years, and found there was also some confusion about where pasta and bread came from.
“A third of five-to-eight-year-olds believe that they [pasta and bread] are made from meat,” reported the BBC.
According to another survey, young adults in Britain are none the wiser.
The online poll, led by the charity LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), surveyed 2000 people aged between 16 and 23 years and found a third of them did not know that bacon came from pigs.
Researchers also found that four in 10 young adults did not know where milk came from, with 40 per cent of them failing to recognise the link between milk and a picture of a dairy cow.
So what are we doing about this problem in Australia?
Partnering with Oliver’s Ministry of Food in Australia is the Good Foundation. It started in 2010 with the goal to use “the power of food” to improve the health of Australians.
The foundation has opened Ministry of Food centres in Queensland and Victoria, where anyone over the age of 12 can learn basic cooking skills.
Mobile kitchens are also operating in Queensland and Victoria, offering 90-minutes cooking classes on wheels.
Trying to help fill the gap in food education for Australian children, the Australian Organic Schools organisation has created a free online tool for teachers.
The chairman of the Australian Organic not-for-profit organisation, Dr Andrew Monk, said he was shocked knowing what kids were not learning at school.
Dr Monk said his daughter was lucky to have seen her fair share of farms, but if she only had our school system to rely on she might also be confused.
“There are just not enough sufficient materials for teachers to utilise,” he said.
The program offers 10 lesson topic areas teachers can use, which include fun games for kids, as well as tests and projects.
Since the Australian Organic Schools program was launched in 2010, 1400 Australian primary schools have joined.
Dr Monk said the number of schools that had registered showed there was a desire for schools to have this material.
Dr Monk said that instead of peddling a product, the organisation was focused on pushing the idea that kids should learn how to grow and understand food and nutrition.