"If compliments are a measurement of success, then the Mill Valley Eat In knocked the ball out of the park. Friends and strangers alike, totaling around 135-150 people, abounded with superlative feedback about the event.
The day did not go without a hitch however. In the early stages of set up we received the news that Rep. Lynn Woolsey, our centerpiece speaker, would not be attending. It was a disappointment for those of us organizing the event, but of course we understood that congressional schedules can change on a dime. We got over it and promptly made an omelet from the proverbial broken eggs. We used the extra speaking time to invite attendees up to the microphone to speak about the work they were doing in the community. Hearing about people's local efforts was truly one of the highlights of the day! Of course our two other primary speakers, Wendy Johnson and Helge Hellberg were a huge hit. Well known in the national/international Slow Food community, they are downright celebrities here in Marin! We were also grateful for the appearance of Carole Mills, Senator Mark Leno's Field Representative. While Sen. Leno was speaking at a San Francisco Eat In, Carole articulated for the Mill Valley crowd the Senator's support for the Time for Lunch platform.
Besides speaking at our "Eat In", Wendy Johnson also conducted a "Plant In." In a beautiful mini-demonstration garden, she showed everyone how easy it is to grow "real" food in the smallest of spaces and donated seedlings to help people get started. Next door to the Plant In, Operation CHEF, a local cooking camp for children, provided a tremendously popular "smoothie bike": pedal your way to a healthy snack. There was also a table set up by Marin Open Garden Project where kids could make planting pots out of newspaper (perfect for Wendy's giveaway seedlings) and a table where children could churn fresh butter using nothing more than cream, salt and a glass jar.
I'll close by saying that the food was incredible. Not a store bought morsel in site, guests created a bounty of delicious and diverse foods. Equally impressive was, at the end of the day, a notable lack of garbage generated. We produced one box of garbage compared to a birthday party sharing the park whose garbage cans were overflowing! We composted, recycled, had a dedicated group "packing in and packing out" and had virtually no leftover food."All I can say is, "What a day!"
The work's not over however, not until Congress hears our call for change. Please visit Slow Food's Time for Lunch website to read their platform, sign their petition and get more information about what you can do in your community to get others on board.