Madeline Dalton is one determined Girl Scout.
“I’ve known since I was eleven years old that I would do a Gold Award project about food education,” says this high school sophomore.
Madeline’s passion for food was sparked after watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution—a television show where chef Jamie Oliver travels around educating young people about food.
“It changed everything,” states Madeline. “It inspired me to start cooking and make a change in my community.”
She started small, buying herself a cookbook and experimenting with new recipes. Next, she started a healthy eating blog—Teens Can Cook, Too.
Madeline also took her love of food to Girl Scouts, where she did the Sow What? Journey: “Our troop learned a lot about the difference between local and global, processed and whole foods, and more. We also visited a local organic farm … It made me even more excited.”
“Incredibly messed up …”
Even as her blog grew and started attracting visitors from around the world, Madeline wanted to do something more hands-on. Or, as she puts it: “I wanted to inspire change that I could see!”
But she was faced with some pretty high hurdles. So many of her friends and classmates didn’t know much (or anything!) about nutrition or food. “There’s a lack of knowledge about food in my community,” explains Madeline. “I overhear conversations where kids don’t know what GMOs are…”
Plus, the more she learned about the food system the more concerned she became.
“The current food system is incredibly messed up. The industry has some dark and disgusting secrets that the majority of the population doesn’t know. Animals are very mistreated, chemicals are added to everything, and companies trick consumers into thinking things are healthy in order to sell their products.”
For Madeline, education is the solution: “If people learn where their food comes from, they’ll start supporting better companies … if people vote with their wallets, we can create a food system that’s more natural.”
As a ten-year veteran Girl Scout, Madeline knew that her Gold Award project was the perfect tool to take her passion for food education to the next level. But she couldn’t stop at hosting just one event or completing a single activity.
Instead, she’s planning a food revolution bonanza!
Her projects includes organizing Organic Day at the Bush School (where students will make and eat a lunch made entirely of organic products), hosting viewings of documentaries like Food Inc. and Forks Over Knives, starting a healthy cooking Action Module Project (a program at her school where students learn about a special subject every Thursday), and leading a food-focused summer camp for middle school students.
And, of course, Madeline’s sharing all of this through her blog so that anyone with internet access can benefit too. (Also, check out Madeline’s beautiful Instagram account for cooking tips, recipes and gorgeous food photography!)
“My ultimate goal is to teach kids the truth about food… and help my peers make more informed decisions,” says Madeline. “I want to inspire them to make some sort of change, whether it’s large (like becoming a vegan) or small (like cutting soda from their diet). No step is too small!”
A Voice for Change
“Girl Scouts has taught me amazing leadership skills,” says Madeline.
Now, she’s putting her leadership savvy to good use, gathering a team of helpers for her Gold Award project. These supporters include her fellow Girl Scouts, troop leaders, Bush School administrators, and the Teens Can Cook, Too Team—a six-person squad of friends who help with the blog.
“Madeline puts so much work into [it],” says Isaac Uselman, one of the team members. “Her passion is contagious.”
This peer-to-peer education is all part of Madeline’s plan. In a recent interview with Newcastle News, Madeline explained that she “always thought that kids talking to kids was more effective than adults talking to kids. So, I figured I could be one of these kids who could change my generation.”
Congratulations on an amazing project Madeline—we can’t wait to see what you do next!
This is a new series featuring some of our amazing Gold Award Girl Scouts. If you know a Girl Scout you’d like to nominate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.