Speaking to 220 sixth-graders in New London, Connecticut


Food Math 101, a course that’s never been taught anywhere

Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School of New London, CT

Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School of New London, CT

On Tuesday, April 2, I delivered the first of four presentations to the sixth grade class at Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in New London, CT. We invited various elected officials as well as the local and state media. My presentation was entitled:

Food Math 101, The numbers behind what we’re eating are not adding up. What can we do about it?

The presentation began with “The Big Picture” of how we humans fit into the ancient (4.6 billion year) history of planet Earth. Although our species has only been around for less than 1/100th  of one percent of the time that the Earth has been supporting life, we have inflicted more damage on the fragile harmony of nature in just the last fifty years—than all previous generations of humans combined—for the last 200,000 years.

The 75-minute time slot was filled with lots of audience participation as the entire class learned about how our food choices affect crucial issues like world hunger, global warming, and the skyrocketing cost of health care. They all learned how a simple improvement of their diet can have profound effects on many global issues that threaten the longterm sustainability of our species.

As you can see from this plaque, this special woman was the first African American to teach in the New London School system---in the 1950s.

As you can see from this plaque, this special woman was the first African American to teach in the New London School system—in the 1950s.

Maybe this series of presentations will be the first of many. As I mentioned in my presentation notes for the first slide:

This second day of April, 2013, could be the start of something big. You may very well be the first 6th grade class in the history of the United States to receive this kind of training. Something big can start right here at the Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School. Something that could spread first to the 7th and 8th grades here, then to the other schools in the county, then the state. Who knows? Maybe some of you will go on TV with Oprah someday and tell your story to the entire world.

At the end of the presentation, my CALENDAR QUIZ was conducted as a team effort. There were twelve questions and all students whose birthday falls in January shared their answer to the first question with the rest of the class. The February group handled the second question and so forth. At the completion of the “Calendar Quiz,” the students were told that by completing the Food Math 101 mini-seminar:

  • You have learned the simple truth about promoting health…
  • And how our food choices impact their requisite resources: land, water and energy.
  • You have also learned how those same food choices impact HUGE issues like world hunger, global warming, the cost of health care and much more.

Media coverage. Julienne Hanckel of the New London Day wrote a nice article after entering some of the kids following the presentation. It was published on April 8 and can be seen here. Reprint of New London Day article re Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School April 2-5, 2013. Click here for link to the actual article in The Day.

Click here to view a PDF of my entire 75-slide PowerPoint Presentation. Comprised of mostly pictures, it is a large file and may take a minute or so to download.

Two minutes of video from my Bennie Dover Jackson presentations of Food Math 101 in April of 2013, New London, CT.

School lunches. Sadly, our school lunch programs seem to be “owned” by the dairy industry. I posted this blog after reading about the new “vegetarian” lunch program at PS 244 in Queens, NY. In New London and in Queens, you will see photos of the ubiquitous “dairy” ingredients in an otherwise healthy dish. School Lunches. Not Great—but more good news than bad.

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to jmorrishicks@me.com

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
This entry was posted in Big Picture, Children, Sustainability. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Speaking to 220 sixth-graders in New London, Connecticut

  1. CJ says:

    Fantastic, Jim! Bravo, indeed! Teaching young children this crucial information, when minds are still open and not yet so “locked down” by our culture, is such an excellent idea. From my trip to the Living Desert last week… one addition I would suggest to the presentation is information on the vast decline in species, showing some of those that are now extinct in the wild or rapidly getting there… animals usually make a big impression for kids. The message that “many more of these animals will soon disappear fairly quickly due to our food choices” might resonate.

    Again, great presentation. I think Richard Oppenlander did a great job in his presentation at Dr. McDougall’s Advanced weekend as well — really makes us “grown ups” think too — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fws0f9s4Bas&list=UUjtpP3jb9LOpbGxdNQhk3Qg&index=6

  2. fjpollack says:

    Great presentation. In case you haven’t seen, there was this great presentation at the last Dr. McDougall Advanced Study weekend. Dr. McDougall posted it on his youtube channel:
    Richard Oppenlander presents: Sustainability and Food Choice: Why Eating Local, “Less” Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work

  3. Jim – you just must get this professionally videotaped! I want to hear the words that go with the charts, get the reactions of the audience!!

  4. Joanne Irwin says:

    Bravo, Bravo, Bravo!!! Absolutely fabulous. Will be eager to hear of students’ responses.

  5. This is excellent! Please keep us posted about the kids’ reactions, etc.

  6. ~Kyrena says:

    Brilliant presentation Jim!

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