It is not just the ideas that are important, these spaces are fundamental to the possibility of a new world…It is up to us to make sure they are safe, inclusive, and just.
– solidarity statement from Cairo
Hello Occupiers and Friends! In the coming days the People’s Kitchen of Occupy Wall Street will be initiating some changes to help us better fulfill our mission to feed the movement. For three days, we will be serving simplified meals to give us a chance to work on our operations, and also to provide an opportunity for our entire community to reflect on where we are coming from and where we are headed as a movement.
We encourage all Occupiers to take this chance to clarify our commitment to the values and goals that we share in this movement, and to embrace this period as a time for conversation and action to strengthen our community and build a safe, inclusive, and open environment in the park, in line with our Community Guidelines. We will be going from camp to camp, working group to working group, to talk with you about how we can improve our community in Liberty Plaza and replicate these values in the larger world.
As occupations across the country are under threat of eviction, it is our responsibility to ensure that the spaces we create are consistent with our ideas about a better world. We’d like to ask that you take these three days to focus on how you can create positive change in the park, in this occupation, and in this country, and to plan actions within your affinity groups and working groups.
We ask you to please bear in mind that security and safety concern everyone in the park. As part of the Good Neighbor policy and on behalf of all our hard-working and dedicated volunteers, your patience and kindness are greatly appreciated during this time of reflection and action.
This three day action was consensed upon by the Kitchen, an autonomous working group open to all members of the community, after many days of conversations and open meetings with members of various working groups, including Security and De-escalation, Structure, Comfort, Sanitation, Community Watch, Finance, Direct Action, S.I.S., Facilitation and the Peace Council.
Our mission in the kitchen is to create a revolutionary space for breaking bread and building community. Let’s do this together!
How does simplifying the kitchen’s menu for three days relate to our movement?
Back to basics (for three days)
We want both the Food Working Group and the community we feed to have three days of clarifying our commitment to the Occupy Wall Street movement and how we can propel it forward. Meals will continue to be served, but it will be simpler fare, and the same meals will be given to everyone.
A Stronger Kitchen
Our network of suppliers, volunteers, donated kitchens, and drivers is currently fragile, and could lead to an interruption in food at any time. Having a planned scale-back for three days allows us to strengthen our operations, and will lead to greater stability of our food supply, and of the occupation.
Whaddya mean? I thought the food prepared itself!
To serve 1,200 people at each mealtime, we move hundreds of pounds of produce and supplies every day, run two offsite kitchens, and coordinate dozens of volunteer cooks and drivers. We’re trying to scale back and simplify our operations for three days so that we can improve this extensive network that brings food to the camp every day. We also need time to reflect within the Food Working Group about how to best fulfill our mission of feeding the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Winter is Coming
The Food Working Group needs to make preparations for the change of seasons. Spring, summer, and next fall are also coming – we’re not going anywhere! – but we need to take time to prepare.
What will be served in the three days?
Simple meals (such as beans and rice, PB&J, fresh fruit), water and tea will continue to be served.
When will it take effect?
This three day action will take place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 28-30, 2011.
What about all the food donations that get brought to the kitchen?
If you want to make food donations during these three days, you could either wait until after the kitchen fully reopens, or bring the donations to a local soup kitchen ( please visit http://www.foodbanknyc.org/ and search by zip code to find your local food pantry), or distribute the food yourself in the park. We are also coordinating with Liberatos Pizza and other vendors that deliver donated prepared food to give us credit for orders placed during the three days that we are scaling back our operations.
Who is this Food Working Group and what gives them the right to mess with my food?
The decision to simplify the kitchen’s operations for three days is within Food’s mandate as an autonomous working group whose mission is providing food to the occupation in Liberty Plaza. We believe that changing our normal operations for three days will allow us to regroup and do a better job in carrying out this mission, and we hope it will provide an opportunity for all working groups to collectively re-evaluate where we are in the movement, both in Liberty Plaza and across the country. Anyone can join the Food Working Group, and if you eat food from the kitchen at Zuccotti Park, you know where to find us. Our regular meetings are at 5:15 pm most days at 60 Wall Street, and you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Twitter at @OWS_KITCHEN.
The Food Working Group of Occupy Wall Street