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by Slow Food USA President, Josh Viertel
This post originally appeared on the Atlantic Monthly Food Channel, the day before the National Day of Action for the Time for Lunch campaign. Check out the Food Channel for Corby Kummer’s reflection on the first Eat-in, a year ago.

I was lucky to attend an Eat-In in Chicago, on August 26, organized by Slow Food Chicago‘s Lynn Peemoeller and her team. It rained all morning, and, as if by divine intervention, stopped about 20 minutes before the event kicked off.

A big, beautiful table sat in the middle of Daley Plaza, abounding with local peaches and plums. People from all over the city had come for the meal: young people from Growing Power, friends from Windy City Harvest, representatives from the Illinois Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force, and state representative, soon-to-be senator Julie Hamos.

The whole staff of Angelic Organics showed up wearing cardboard hats with messages like “I grow my own tomatoes: Ask me how,” “I keep bees: Ask me how,” “I raise goats: Ask me how!”

And the Cornettes were there. They were my favorites. These advocates for urban agriculture made corn-ear costumes, salt and pepper shaker costumes, and a stick of butter costume. And their costumes were made out of cut up seed-bags for round-up ready, genetically modified corn. Good movements incorporate good theater. Just being right isn’t enough. No movement is worth being part of that doesn’t inspire creativity, art, a sense of humor to change the system. In Chicago, they were inspired.

On Labor Day, we are going to see this kind of creativity and dedication all over the country, in 300 locations, in every state as people gather for a Day of Action to kick off the Time for Lunch campaign. The campaign aims to update the National School Lunch Program (which expires in Sept. 2009) so that schools have the ability to serve food that benefits our children’s health, rather than the fast food and junk food that makes them sick. We’re telling Congress that it’s time to provide America’s children with real food: food that tastes good, is good for us, is good for the planet, and is good for the people who work to grow and prepare it.

You should come to one. They are easy to find. Just use this map or search by state. While you’re there, sign the Time for Lunch petition.


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