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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Slow Food S.F. Gearing Up for Sprawling Labor Day Potluck in Civic Center

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 4:55 PM

The Civic Center Eat-In harks back to last year's communal potluck in Dolores Park.

​Organizing a potluck can be headache-y -- you've got to do a lot of e-mailing to avoid ending up with a table crammed with hummus and Toll House. Imagine, then, what Dava Guthmiller is going through. The president of the city's Slow Food chapter is throwing a Labor Day potluck for 500 outdoors in Civic Center, noon to 3 p.m. But a little more than three weeks out, Guthmiller seems completely chill. 

Dubbed an Eat-In, the Civic Center potluck is one of about 230 communal meals planned nationwide for Labor Day, under Slow Food USA's national day of action for its Time for Lunch drive. The campaign seeks to bring what Slow Food calls "real food" to the nation's public school lunchrooms. Tactics focus on letter-writing campaigns and petition drives to pressure Congress to improve standards under the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act, due for action this fall. The Labor Day Eat-Ins were inspired, in part, by last year's communal potluck in Dolores Park during S.F.'s Slow Food Nation festival.

The Civic Center potluck is expected to be the largest of three Eat-Ins in the city on September 7th. Smaller meals are planned for Ingleside and Potrero Hill, with 11 more Eat-Ins in the wider Bay Area, from San Jose to Santa Rosa.

Though the S.F. event is expected to be sprawling, Guthmiller isn't stressing about who's bringing what. "Everyone's free to bring what they like," she told SFoodie. "We will have some food provided, some people who are bringing large-portion items for those who just happen to forget and show up with nothing. But we're asking everyone to bring picnic ware -- plates and forks -- and a dish to share of whatever size." Attendees will drop off their dish at a central food table, where volunteers will check it out to determine whether it'll need to be iced. Dishes will be distributed among several communal dining tables set up in Civic Center Plaza.

A few speakers will deliver brief remarks, and Guthmiller is looking for a school vocal group to provide entertainment. Money raised from voluntary donations will go to Slow Food San Francisco's school project, including a seed fund for edible gardens. The city's Slow Food chapter has some 900 members. Attendees are asked to RSVP at Slow Food S.F.'s Web site, though it's not essential.

Oh, and what dish is Guthmiller planning to bring? No clue, she said.

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