Santa Cruz, CA - An activist group on the brink of celebrating a consecutive year of coronavirus pandemic-era free meal service was summarily ejected from a private downtown parking lot Thursday. Potentially setting the stage for the latest standoff with the City of Santa Cruz, organizer Keith McHenry then moved Food Not Bombs’ distribution effort into an adjacent “Lot 27” public parking area just across Front Street, the same one the group was locked out of last year due to what officials cited as “public nuisance” complaints. “We’re like, just keep moving and doing what needs to happen,” McHenry said of consistently serving as many as 200 free vegan meals a day since Marcy 14.
Food Not Bombs
New Paltz, NY - Every Wednesday, a mix of New Paltz college students and locals congregate in a small workspace just outside of town. It may look like they’re just cooking and packing food to deliver to needy families, but it’s really more than that. “Like when people say, ‘serving the community,’ well, we want to build a community,” said Katari Sisa, a volunteer for Food Not Bombs New Paltz. Sisa, a recent graduate of SUNY New Paltz, has been involved at the organization for the last four years now. Sisa says that giving back is necessary right now, with a pandemic raging and, according to data collected by the University of Southern California, nearly 37% of Americans are dealing with food insecurity.
Florida - A group whose symbol is a clenched fist holding a carrot won a legal victory over the city of Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday, when a federal appeals court found that its weekly events to feed homeless people were protected under the Constitution. Food Not Bombs, which grew out of an anti-nuclear protest in New England, now has chapters around the United States, which promote the shift of funding away from the military to address hunger, poverty and other problems. The Fort Lauderdale chapter’s weekly feeding events at Stranahan Park generated opposition downtown, where a growing homeless population had led to tensions with businesses owners and visitors.
By Kate Bradshaw for Creative Lofting Tampa Bay - Temperatures were dipping into unfriendly territory Saturday afternoon as sports fans flocked to the events at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. At nearby Lykes Gaslight Park, members of Tampa's homeless community were gathered for hot coffee and bagels, courtesy of the group Food Not Bombs. There were no altercations, no illicit substances, no bad behavior—unless you count that, according to the City of Tampa, that coffee and bagels were illegal. Why? Because you have to have a special permit in order to offer free food to the needy in city parks.
Three activists protesting the World Food Prize were arrested Thursday night in front of the Iowa Capitol building, just as attendees to the 2014 Laureate Award Ceremony gathered inside. The three protesters, part of the Occupy World Food Prize movement, were arrested after a march up the Capitols' west steps, during which a crowd of about 40 people chanted "No, no, GMO." The arrest came after an hourlong rally with speakers from Iowa and around the country, who criticized the World Food Prize's recognition of genetically modified organisms as the solution to feed a growing world population. The prize, they say, honors corporate and large-scale industrial agriculture, rather than farmers who grow their own food. "Even though a lot of people in that building over there are very powerful and rich, we represent a lot of people who can't get here — the majority of the human race," said Frank Cordaro, founder of the Iowa Catholic Worker and one of the protesters who was arrested, in his opening remarks.
In a globalized city at the heart of advanced capitalism, where bond traders exchange billions of dollars in our financial markets, people are still allowed to die of starvation, malnutrition and lack of permanent shelter. In the wealthiest country of the world, the most extreme forms of poverty persist unabated, while buildings that could be urban farms, social centers, living spaces, radical libraries, free schools or free medical clinics are kept off limits through the unending threat of the prison cell and the barrel of the gun. Today Food Not Bombs Pilsen has taken a small step in our neighborhood to combat the ruthless inequality of capitalist society. Instead of allowing the abandoned police precinct to remain privatized and wasted, we have decided to make a garden to grow food and build community power through autonomous food security. In the garden, we will grow fresh vegetables that we will hand out for free at our weekly food distribution.
The hunger relief efforts of a small group of dedicated and caring Long Islanders operating on a near-zero budget is eclipsing that of the relief efforts of many well-funded 501-c3 organizations, both in number of people served and in the volume of food distributed. The group, a Long Island chapter of the decentralized, grassroots, hunger relief group, Food Not Bombs, is serving to both inspire the local community and simultaneously raise questions as to how an autonomous group with a shoestring budget can outmatch non-profits of similar purpose whose operating budget exceeds millions of dollars annually.