Sunday, March 8, 2009

A recipe for an Eat-In

The sun-soaked lobby of the Yerba Buena Arts Center transformed itself into a potluck feast bubbling with conversations all about food this Sunday--everything from food politics to food cultures and recipes, was shared with over 6o strangers on the day time turned into Spring.

This was SFs latest Eat-In. Here's the recipe for an Eat-In: bring a homecooked dish to share, even better bring something your grandma would've cooked, and share food with other people interested in real food and learning about the politics behind it. As the website says...

"a tool for to getting more people involved in the movement to create communities where everyone enjoys good, clean and fair food. In the midst of health, climate, economic and cultural crises, we can't afford to keep ignoring the true costs of the way we eat. An Eat-In is a public statement that healthy food and agriculture is a national priority. It's a demand that we and our politicians start taking action."

10 speakers from the Bay Area food movement attended to get the conversation going--from Bryant Terry, author of Grub & a new book called Vegan Soul Food (and collaborator on some new, incredibly powerful posters, a must have for the budding food activist) to Chris Carlsson author of Nowtopia a great collection of inspirational stories of people making the world a better place, right. now.
My favorite moment at the event was walking down the long table assembling my plate brimming full with delicious food -- a fava bean chili, cornbread, sourdough challah, plantains baked with cheese and guava paste, quinoa salad with kale and beans and more, cabbage salad, quiche, cookies and pies and stuffed baked apples -- as I made my way along the table discovering each and every dish--the excitement was palpable, people were serving each other, talking about each dish, each discovery like opening a new present on Christmas.

We dined on butcher paper tablecloths to capture our sprawling thoughts, illustrations, and inspirations brought forth by all the incredible food and the unusual conversations. Our assignment: take one thing from the day, whether it be an evocative statement scrawled on the paper table cloth, or a story from a tablemate, and make it happen.

For me, I took away much more than the assignment--I took away new friendships, old friendships were fortified by sharing food and stories, and I took away a renewed commitment to making food activism a more overt part of my life--I spend a lot of time volunteering at Garden for the Environment and bringing colleagues to the weekly farmers market, but I could do more. My official assignment: be part of a real food movement -- my first step? In April I'm going to avoid all processed foods...a baby step towards an all local food month for me. The hard part will be deciding how to define processed!

I was too engaged in the event to take good photos--these don't express the energy and life of the event...
Edna's Sourdough Challah--she's a natural born baker...

Our grandma's cornbread and a salad.
Serving fava bean chili.

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