Slow Food Potluck Draws Hundreds to Civic Center on Labor Day

Categories: A Civil Tongue

sf eatin.jpg
The Civic Center event was one of several in the city.
​Slow Food San Francisco president Dava Guthmiller estimated about 400 people showed up at a potluck in Civic Center yesterday. The event was one of more than 300 Labor Day Eat-Ins organized by Slow Food USA, a kickoff to its Time for Lunch campaign to pressure Congress to enact reforms to national school lunch programs. Organizers had been hoping for as many as 700 in Civic Center.

Guthmiller reckoned that 80 to 85 percent of participants showed up with a dish to share at communal tables set up in Civic Center Plaza. "There was plenty of food, plenty of stuff from Eatwell Farm, Frog Hollow. Let's Be Frank brought some of their hot dogs, and a lot of people did bring large-portion items." Guthmiller's own contribution? Broiled tomatoes with goat cheese and chives. (Watch our slide show -- including luscious food photos -- here.)

State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco/San Rafael) spoke at the Civic Center event. So did local nutritionist Daphne Miller, author of The Jungle Effect. Smaller Eat-Ins happened at Crissy Field, Dolores Park, Brooks Park in Ingleside, and the 18th and Rhode Island Community Garden on Potrero Hill, and in other Bay Area cities.

Attendees at Civic Center penned some 250 letters urging school lunch reforms, addressing them to a list of California legislators that included Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and state Senator Dean Florez (D-Fresno). Slow Food S.F. gathered about 100 signatures to a petition urging support for farm-to-table programs, school gardens, and other initiatives.

"I think we spoke with one unified voice on one day to get real food in schools," said Brian Sinderson, spokesman for Brooklyn-based Slow Food USA, which conceived of the potlucks. Sinderson estimated that, across the country, more than 20,000 people participated in the Eat-Ins. No official word yet on how the Civic Center event ranked in terms of crowd size, but it's expected to have be one of the nation's largest.

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