As the weather heats up for the summer, Food Not Bombs is excited to have resumed outdoor events at the Collingwood Garden (2472 Collingwood)! While we continue to cook and send out deliveries from the FlambOWEnce House during the day on Thursdays, the garden provides a lovely and relaxing space for us to connect with our neighbors and explore the food forest. We invite you to join us from 5:30–7:30 at 2472 Collingwood each Thursday to share what we have cooked around the bonfire, and encourage folks to take home any grocery and pantry items we can provide.
Additionally, Food Not Bombs is grateful to be able to show solidarity with Palestinians by providing snacks and water at local Free Palestine protests. As an international mutual aid network, it is our responsibility to stand strong against all forms of oppression. It is unacceptable that the United States continues to support Israel, as they massacre, displace and oppress Palestinians on their own land.
Those of you who follow the Toledo Food Not Bombs Facebook page may have noticed that we are reserving every other Thursday for sober gatherings. We believe that intentional community building should be a safe space for our friends in recovery, and would love to encourage families to feel comfortable bringing children along as well. It is important to us to normalize a substance free atmosphere, and examine how we can shift toward healthy gathering habits, especially processing stress in ways that are kind to our minds and bodies. The 3rd and 17th of June will be sober nights at the garden, and June 3rd will also host a Narcan and Fetynal Test Strip distro & HIV rapid testing.
As we move forward with summer events like these, we are seeking more food donations. If you garden and have any fresh produce to share with us, please reach out to us via Facebook. We are looking forward to seeing you as outdoor gatherings pick back up for the summer!
Car Smash Decompression Event
May 30th was the 1-year anniversary of the Black Lives Matter protest in Toledo where the Toledo Police Department enacted horrific violence upon the community. To recognize this anniversary we hosted a car smash event to decompress and release aggression in a safe environment. We found a junk car that was beyond repair and we used sledge hammers, pickaxes, and other smashing tools to smash the car! Thanks to the friends that helped this event be successful.
Feed the Mind
Food Means Everything
by James Perrine
I was talking with a friend of mine recently about Food Not Bombs and the fight for liberation and he asked me “what does free food mean to the movement”? After volunteering and organizing with Food Not Bombs for a while this made me really stop and think because the answer to this question is one that I had been taking for granted. Food is a necessity and a right for everyone, so of course a movement for liberation should include free food for everyone! However, as I started to spin that question in my head I realized the answer is so much more complex than meeting a basic survival need. After some thought I broke my answer down into three parts: 1) food is political; 2) food is educational; 3) food is community.
Food is political — For BIPOC (Black, Indigenous & People of Color) folx, cultural food practices, feasts, and ceremonies have been shunned, ridiculed, and even criminalized by Western society. Think of the Native American potlatch ceremonies which were outlawed by colonizing governments. Moreover the food itself has also been a target of shame and ridicule. For example, my aunt is Korean and would make me homemade kimchi. To me it was both a gift of love and a delicious and beneficial food. However if I ate it around the kids at school they would say things like “that smells like vomit” or “did you get that from the trash”. The ridicule of food outside the Western perspective shames BIPOC for eating cultural foods. Simply eating these cultural foods is an act of resistance.
Food is educational — The act of cooking is a great educational tool. It can be used to teach environmental science, chemistry, physics and thermodynamics, sociology and anthropology, physical and mental wellness, among so many other things. Things that are often locked away behind classist barriers and paywalls. By opening a free community space to cook and feed one another we are building a foundation for an educational space that can help build community self-sufficiency. More than this, though, food educates us on the needs of our community. Over the last year of delivering meals and providing meals, we have noticed that lack of public transport within neighborhoods is a huge barrier to food access. With more grocers in food desert areas and more accessible transport we can begin to bridge the gap between resources and those who need them. By providing free meals we were able to identify and educate ourselves on major community health issues.
Food is community — Humans have a long evolutionary and social history of feasting together. Many of our traditional gatherings and ceremonies have a feast or specific food as the centerpiece of celebration. Food is gifted to community members in celebration of birthdays, anniversaries, congratulations, etc. Cooking around a campfire and making s’mores is a great way to bond with community members. So many of our social and cultural experiences involve or are centered around food. By freely providing food to each other in a community we are opening these community spaces for bonding, love, and solidarity that is truly at the center of movements for liberation.
So what does free food mean to the movement for liberation? It means BIPOC folx have a space to embrace their cultural traditions. It means education in science, history, and humanities. It means building community power and solidarity. Food is so much more than a basic survival need, it’s a vital way we, as humans, interact, communicate, educate, and bond. Food means everything.
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