September 7, 2009
Organizer: Linda Viertel; Jan Frasier Maltby
Tarrytowns Slow Food Westchester Eat-In took place at Washington Irving Elementary School, with views toward the beautiful Hudson River. Planned by involved residents from Irvington, Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, several hundred residents from throughout the county joined together to sign petitions, eat good, clean and fair food, and listen to politicians support Slow Food initiatives. Congresswoman Nita Lowey spoke about her Stop Obesity bill in the House, and her years, since 1975 when she worked on school lunch issues with Mathilda Cuomo. State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, Greenburgh Town Supervisor, Westchester County Legislator Tom Abinanti, and Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow School Superintendent Howard Smith all spoke about the necessity of expanding the national public school lunch budget to help provide healthy food for the nations children. Music, childrens games, and soccer on a gorgeous early fall day contributed to the warmth of the occasion.
Creating community, one of Slow Foods goals in creating the Eat-In campaign, was one of the strongest outcomes in Tarrytown. Gloria Cepin, a grassroots activist and mother in Sleepy Hollow who was interviewed on the NPR Radio Bilingue show, wrote, This event opened our eyes to so many things. It has encouraged us to think about what we eat, where the food comes from, how politics plays a role. I am so glad the Hispanic community came out to hear Slow Foods message. Ana Lopez, a Westchesters Hispanic Coalition Supervisor, said, The Hispanic community never felt included before, and this was the first time we felt like one community, like we were being asked to participate and have something to say.
For many in our villages, this was, indeed, the first time they had heard about Wellness Programs, the Child Nutrition Act or farm to school programs. But, they guaranteed us that they would carry on the message and go to work in their schools. Please see our What Can You Do Tomorrow sheet attached to read some of the messages we want to convey to our receptive public.
Jan Maltby and Linda Viertel
(Congresswoman Nita Lowey with State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and high school and elementary school students at Washington Irving Elementary School.)