Slow Food Atlanta’s “time for lunch” campaign, which was comprised of several “eat-ins” across the metro area over the weekend, drew hundreds of supporters to Piedmont Park on Labor Day.
Chanting “What do we want? Real food!” in support of the reauthorization of section 122 of the Child Nutrition Act that Congress will vote on this December, members of Atlanta’s slow food movement played the parachute game, dressed as leafy greens and tomatoes and entered a banner contest with prizes that ranged from a trip to Serenbe Farms to dinner cooked by Parish’s chef, Nick Melvin.
Most important, they sat and ate picnic style the kind of foods they want to see in public schools — fresh, local, sustainable and healthy.
The biggest coup of the event was the presence of Slow Food USA’s president, Josh Viertel (pictured below with Slow Food Atlanta’s organizer and local Love is Love farmer Judith Winfrey). Out of over 300 eat-ins across the country hosting the peaceful protests, Viertel chose Atlanta — a sign that the once lagging movement in Georgia is picking up considerable steam. (Georgia Organics hosted slow food icon and writer Michael Pollan earlier this year.)
Viertel spoke briefly about Slow Food’s recent call to activism, saying “The reauthorization of this bill depends on the social movement behind it.”
“The best place to start with slow food is with our kids,” Viertel said. “I’m looking forward to the day when our schools are trading in metal detectors for vibrant school gardens.”
When I asked Viertel why he chose Atlanta out of 306 different eat-ins, he said, almost cheering “Atlanta is great!”
Chef Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch offered a cooking demonstration shortly after Viertel spoke, and some slow food eaters gathered around to listen while others sat under tents or trees quietly eating and enjoying the beautiful day.
“Food is the most important consumer choice we will ever buy,” said Winfrey in her introduction of Viertel. “And there is no substitute for real food.”