Monday, February 5, 2007

Food not bombs

What's more domestic than food?

I had lunch last Friday with Keith McHenry, a founding member of Food Not Bombs, a grassroots activist organization that has grown into an international movement in which people "cook for peace"--recognizing food as a right, not a privilege.

They started as an anti-nuclear protest group (remember the bake sale for the B1 bomber?) and their idea has grown to feeding the disenfranchised in cities throughout the world.

According to their web site,

Each group recovers food that would otherwise be thrown out and makes fresh hot vegetarian meals that are served in outside in public spaces to anyone without restriction. Each independent group also serves free vegetarian meals at protests and other events. The San Francisco chapter has been arrested over 1,000 times in government's effort to silence its protest against the city's anti- homeless policies. Amnesty International states it will adopt those Food Not Bombs volunteers that are convicted as "Prisoners of Conscience" and will work for their unconditional release.

[ . . . ]

Food Not Bombs is often the first to provide food and supplies to the survivors of natural disasters and terrorist attacks. During the first three days after the 1989 Earthquake, Food Not Bombs was the only organization in San Francisco providing hot meals to the survivors and the Long Beach chapter provided food after the North Ridge Earthquake. Food Not Bombs was also the first to provide hot meals to the rescue workers responding to September 11th World Trade Center attacks. Food Not Bombs volunteers were among the first to provide food and help to the survivors of the Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Our volunteers organized a national collection program and delivered bus and truckloads of food and supplies to the gulf region. We have been one of the only organizations sharing daily meals in New Orleans since Katrina. You can rely on Food Not Bombs in a disaster and we are ready to help in the future.

Keith himself has been arrested over 100 times for serving free food in city parks and he has spent over 500 nights in jail. In 1995 Amnesty International and the United Nations Human Rights Commission joined thousands of supporters in working for his release when he faced 25 years to life after being arrested under the California Three Strikes Law because of his Food Not Bombs work.

Hate bombs? Like to cook? Check out Food Not Bombs' current actions and campaigns.

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