By Slow Food Chicago chapter leader Lynn Peemoeller, and as originally posted on the Huffington Post
Like all great public spaces, Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago has set the stage over the years for as many causes as there are types of people. The great walls of city hall, the Federal building, and the Chicago Picasso have been the backdrop for a melting pot of events.
When I heard about the idea of an Eat-In, which is a group of people gathering in public in order to share a meal together and make a political statement I wanted to do it in Daley Plaza with our Slow Food Chapter.
Locally we are well known for great events that celebrate food through farmers, artisans, and ethnic cultures but we have never really gone down the path of organizing people around a reason for action.
The reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act in Congress this fall and the Slow Food USA campaign (Time for Lunch) that is raising awareness for better food in school lunches and nutrition for our most vulnerable populations gave us ammunition to bring people together for an Eat-In. The Slow Food USA ‘Time for Lunch’ Campaign is proving that people all over the country are passionate and dedicated to making a difference in our food system through civic engagement and advocacy for change in Federal policy. There are over 250 Eat-Ins planned throughout the country on Labor Day in all 50 states. This has exceeded expectations all around.
Now, I’ve been to plenty of events put together by big fancy event companies and they are often impressive. As a small and completely volunteer-run organization, for us to do something of this scale requires not only time and money but also dedication from scores of people.
I was the kind of student who always wanted to go first to get my presentations over with. That desire was working for me, when the only available date we could get for Daley Plaza this summer was on August 26th. So we started down the path of planning a simple yet impressive event, the first in a nationwide series.
Even the most-simple events are complicated. I shouldn’t have been surprised to see the rain coming a week away.