Planted! A Labor Day Picnic with Slow Food Portland
Monday, September 7th
12:30 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.
THE WORKS at Washington High School
By Eve Connell
Barely coming down off my It Might Get Loud high Monday afternoon, I arrived at the Slow Food Labor Day Picnic hungry and ready to appreciate the bounty promised me. The field was set up with pots of veggies and herbs holding smallish signs that quipped facts about the benefits of organics, stats on hunger, and the state of our crappy institutionalized food system. A fun touch.
Many picnickers basked on blankets in the welcome sunshine with their pals and kids, munching all sorts of delights from Food Fight!, the closest New Seasons, and their own kitchen gardens. Kids played various “ungames” inside Washington High and out on the lawn. Moms laughed with their girlfriends. Dads ate hot dogs. Hipsters nursed hangovers, though not too convincingly. Slow Food enthusiasts wandered with brownies and figs for all to taste, sneaking in fliers about the Slow Food USA (see both: http://www.slowfoodusa.org and http://www.slowfoodportland.org) movement, and how to grow better school lunches. It was all quite Norman Rockwellish in our Portland kinda way.
“The picnic will blend conversation, art, civic activism, and an agri-utopian vision.” While I’m not sure how much activism was inspired on site, it was a good gathering of hungry souls. Apparently, as noted on fliers and at the few info tables gracing the entrance to the field, we need to spend more money on healthy school lunch programs, offer better, healthier food standards in cafeterias, create green jobs connected to lunch programs, institute better and more garden and nutrition programs, and buy local, organic food. Period. (My best guess is that most participants know, support, and live these edicts; I mostly overheard people talking about their weekends, clothes, and their children’s new teachers.)
Political? Nope. Utopian? Maybe. Fun? Yes. All in all, a lovely, pleasant afternoon gathering.