So, you’re wondering what to do this Labor Day. Bumming around town? Hitting the beach? Picnicking in the park? Wherever the venue, I’ve got the perfect activity for it. It’s a sleepy day for businesses anyway, so why not do as Slow Food USA is urging and Eat-In? That’s right, it’s a national call of not eating out… everywhere!
Obviously, this is something I couldn’t be more excited about (or find more routine?). Judging by the number of Eat-Ins planned as of yet, a whole lot of other folks are getting into the spirit, too. It’s all in the name of Slow Food’s “Time For Lunch” campaign, aimed at bringing healthier, better food into cafeterias. Because, let’s face it, public school food just isn’t what it ought to be. It shouldn’t be cheaper to produce than the dollar menu at fast food. Though we can all probably share a laugh over the dark days of lunching in those harshly lit rooms, dissecting nuggets for a game of “What Is It?” much like the science class frogs, eating well is best instilled at youth, and busy moms and dads can use a hand from the schools. So anyone who signs the petition or participates by hosting or attending a Labor Day Eat-In will be lending their voice to the chorus asking Congress if we can’t do better for the kids. As well as eating, and sharing food that’s exemplary.
I won’t be holding a potluck myself this Labor Day. The campaign happens to fall on the annual West Indian American Pride parade, which makes traveling in my neighborhood in Brooklyn a little challenging, though fun. (Last year, I was so tempted to dig into all that spicy street food that I forged my own take on vegetarian Jamaican patties.)
Instead, I’ll be hopping around Eat-Ins in the city. If you’re hosting one not listed below, and don’t mind more folks dropping by, please share the info about it in the comments. Or, thinking about hosting one? It isn’t too late. You can check out tools and tips on how to make your Eat-In more engaging, and remember to sign it up at Slow Food, so they can keep track of how many are happening. Don’t live in NYC? Choose a state on the map to find Eat-Ins in your area to attend. No time for either? There’s always the petition to sign, and ways to spread the word that won’t take away from vacation.
Here are my picks for the best NYC Eat-Ins to be at this Labor Day (all taking place Monday, September 7):
1) Eating Liberally invites you to take “Time for Lunch” with us this Labor Day, 1 pm at The Campos Community Garden in Manhattan (640-644 East 12th Street between Aves B & C):
“We’re hosting a potluck picnic as part of Slow Food USA’s nationwide Eat-In campaign to send a message to Congress that it’s time to feed America’s children real food at school! Bring an old blanket, a home-cooked dish along with your friends and family to share it with. Some of our favorite local folks will be pitching in on the food front, too, including The Grange Food Company and Jimmy’s No. 43.
(Hint: including Eating Liberally blogger Kerry Trueman)
2) In Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, there will be an event-filled Eat-In at the schoolyard of PS 9 Teunis G. Bergen School (80 Underhill Avenue on St. Mark’s Avenue), 12-3pm:
“Let’s send a clear message to Congress: It’s time to provide America’s children with real food at school. We are asking participants to bring a dish to the Eat-In. But to really get the point across to budget-conscious administrators and politicians, we are issuing the following challenge.
Please try to bring a dish to share that:
• Is nutritious and uses whole foods (not processed foods)
• Costs less than $20 to make
• Is delicious to kids
12:00 Event open
12:15 Welcome and remarks by Professor Janet Poppendieck (author of the upcoming book, Free For All: Fixing School Food in America), 11th grader Marcia Foster, New York City Council Member Letitia James and New York State Senator Eric Adams
3:00 Eat-in closes”
3) There’s an Eat-In in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at Bridget (20 Broadway between Dunham Pl. & Kent Ave), from 12-3pm:
“We’re having a free screening of the documentary, What’s On Your Plate, a kids’ cooking demonstration from the team at Growing Chefs, as well as a raffle with great prizes from local vendors (all you have to do to enter is write a super simple letter to Congress).”
(Hint: Growing Chefs is directed by agricultural education whiz Annie Novack, who also co-founded Eagle Street Rooftop Farm. So if you haven’t gotten to meet her on the roof yet, this is a great chance to see her in action. Also, this event is co-organized by Michelle of The Epi-Cure, and the raffle prizes are donated by Heritage Farms, Marlow & Sons, The Brooklyn Kitchen, Urban Rustic & many more.)
4) Ladies Who Lunch is throwing a local-themed Eat-In at The Bell House in Gowanus, Brooklyn (149 7th Street), 3-7pm (event info):
“In support of Slow Food’s “Time for Lunch Campaign”, Ladies who Lunch formally invite you to a back-to-school block party featuring an extraordinary local foods potluck. Our goal is to showcase healthy local lunches, write letters and make calls to our legislators in support of the Child Nutrition Act, and have FUN starting fall off on a healthy note!
–Your (homemade) local dish
–Raffle with Local Prizes (5pm!)
–Letter Writing Campaign for Kids & Adults!
–Drink Specials: $1 pints of Sixpoint from 3-5pm, 2-for-1 drinks at the bar from 5-7PM
–4-square, hopscotch, hula hoops and more!
Come one, come all (adults and children of all ages). Come HUNGRY for healthy local fare.”
5) Park Slope, Brooklyn is having a kid-friendly Eat-In, too, at 6/15 Green Community Garden (6th Avenue and 15th Street), 3-5pm:
“A potluck plus a screening of a short video made by students at PS 295 about their experience growing food at the garden for use in their school’s cafeteria.
Students from PS 295 are stewards of two community plots there, where they grow vegetables and herbs for a meal program at a seniors’ center (the produce gets delivered by teh kids, and this relationship has led to the creation of Greenthumb school garden behind the seniors’ center. Students also grow food for the Garden to Cafe project (a collaboration of NYCDOE, SchoolFood, NYS Dept. of Agriculture, Greenthumb, Cornell Cooperative Extension and Added Value whose purpose is to bring more student-grown food into NYC school cafeterias. About 20 schools citywide participate — it’s a great program.”