Eat-ins out in the wild, wild west
by campaign intern Alex Tung
The Time For Lunch Campaign’s National Day of Action is only four days away! As Slow Food USA’s staff, volunteers and Eat-In organizers nationwide are busy making final preparations, I’d like to share our excitement by giving you a short preview of a few of the fine, innovative Eat-Ins that I’ve been following in my time here as a Regional Coordinator for the campaign. (As you’ll see, I’ve mostly worked with organizers in the West.)
Some Slow Food chapters have done a great job reaching out to their local school districts and working directly with city officials. Attendees at Slow Food Boulder, CO‘s Eat-In on the Boulder County Courthouse Lawn will hear stories from individuals who work hard to provide the food in Boulder’s schools. They include Boulder Valley School Districts School Food Projects member and parent Syliva Tawse, the Growe Foundations School Gardens program and the Parent Education Network and St. Vrain Valley School District‘s Director of Nutrition. The potluck-style picnic will be complemented by tasty food samples made with locally sourced ingredients by students of the Culinary School of the Rockies. There will even be fun activities for children and a bluegrass band!
Others have made headway by bringing together new groups of people. At the Eat-In in Salt Lake City, UT you can share a dish with Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon and Dave Everett from the Salt Lake City Mayor’s office, who will be at Slow Food Utah‘s Eat-In to show their support for giving kids real food at school. They will be joined by Primary Children’s Hospital Pediatric Dietitian Margaret Braae, and Valerie Hammel, who spearheaded the Open Classroom‘s “Real Food Lunch Program.” Volunteers at the family-friendly event will help kids plant seeds in little pots they can take home and watch grow. Children can also participate in fun games with local apples as prizes.
A few chapters have had to be creative about their location. To beat the heat, the Slow Food Phoenix’s Eat-In in Phoenix, AZ will be an indoor even—a “bring your own” picnic and a potluck dessert buffet at the Home Arts Building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. Attendees can expect to see local chefs leading cooking demonstrations for kids, and interactive booths on topics ranging from “seed planting” to “a nutrition pyramid bean bag toss” and a “school garden complete with plants and bales of hay.” Strolling the event and entertaining kids and parents alike will be a trio of veggies and fruits to promote healthy eating.
In Portland, OR, real food and creativity will set the stage for “re-framing an abandoned lot as an urban grid of neighborhoods and gardens.” Teaming up with the the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art and their annual Time-Based Art Festival, Slow Food Portland will take over the lawn of the old Washington High School with a flurry of planting, harvesting, and cooking. At this sprawling picnic surrounded by temporary gardens, participants will be fed wood-fired flatbreads and joined by local food organizations.
At present, 295 Eat-Ins are scheduled to take place on Labor Day, September 7th 2009. The better we tell the stories from the Eat-Ins, the more people we’ll reach—so if you are attending an Eat-In on Labor Day, please take pictures and videos and upload them to Flickr with the tag “timeforlunch.” Post about it on your blog and email us the link (firstname.lastname@example.org). Tell your friends, your neighbors, your local farmers and your elected officials.
Looking for an Eat-In near you? Visit the Time for Lunch website, here.
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