The following post is a tribute to my nine year old son.
On Father’s Day this year he gave me his plan for a new “fast food” chain to replace McDonald’s. Maybe living in the same house with a dad that has just a drop of sustainable food on his mind inspired him, but I think it mostly had to do with the creative force that is childhood.
Here is his plan in its entirety:
O’donalds – the organic Mcdonalds
The first O’donalds would open in Burlington, Vermont. It would use only local and organic food, and would not use high fructose corn syrup. The items on the menu would come and go depending on the season. It would only acept food from local farmers within 100 miles. It would only purchase cheese from companies that didn’t use RBGH. It would have soups and salads year round, and sandwiches too. It would sell soda’s that did not contain high fructose corn syrup. Organic drinks replace Coke’s, and Dr.Pepper. Organic root beer would be sold.
Our restaurants will open in cities, such as New York City and Boston. Food will not be shipped from across the country, or will it be frozen and then reheated.
Our key word is organic. We will have panini sandwiches that are made out of homemade bread and pesto. Our soups and pastas will be delicious. We will have chocolate-chip, oatmeal and peanut butter cookies for dessert.
Now lets look at the building design. It would be a medium-sized building, with glass windows and booths with neon green seats and white tables. A shiny chandiler would be on the ceiling. Also, you could eat outside!
The pesto would be a yummy lemon balm pesto, and O’Donalds would have a huge garden within a 100 mile radius. We would have sundaes with organic root beer, homemade vanilla ice cream with a bit of Vermont whipped cream. Yum.
Whether its my son or daughters (have three), or yours, we should be engaging them in discussions about where our food comes from, as well as how it is grown, processed and sold. When time (and patience) permits, sit down to find a yummy recipe to make for dinner, take them shopping and talk about making choices (e.g., conventional or organic produce), and work together preparing and cooking meals.
This has been the standard practice in our home since we had our first child over 13 years ago. Clearly, the things we talk about, the things we value, and the actions we take are sinking in.
Rob Smart is a food entrepreneur focusing on regional food systems and consumer retail experiences. He blogs on alternative food systems at Every Kitchen Table and Civil Eats (guest blogger), and micro-blogs on Twitter as Jambutter.