Meanwhile, Back at Home...
Monday, April 26, 2010
Location: Missoula Public Library
Mere days after I had left my adopted hometown of Missoula, the following news landed in my inbox:
Food Not Bombs is a de-centralized group of motivated individuals in the city of Missoula and across the globe who have a vision of a better world. The people in Missoula sharing food with one another in Missoula under the moniker or "Food Not Bombs" have been doing so off and on for years, this particular group has been active for about a calendar year and has successfully been operating sanitarily, peacefully, and co-operatively with the community at large.
Sharing food together has proven to be a revolutionary idea in and of itself. The concept is simple: gather in a public place and share vegetarian food with all in our community in the attempt to make the following statements:
- If effort of equal or greater value was put into feeding hungry people in the world instead of fueling the war machine, no one in our society would go hungry.
- Vegetarian food is non-violent and healthy. Most of our members are not vegetarian, but also due to health and food safety reasons, all the food that we bring to Food Not Bombs weekly potlucks are vegetarian dishes.
- We believe that community space is for everyone, and that it is our constitutional right to make these statements and to assemble in public places for the purpose of sharing sanitary, healthy, delicious food with ourselves, our neighbors, and all members of the community. We see no difference between giving a casserole to our neighbors and inviting our neighbors to eat said casserole in public with us.
- This is not a charitable practice. There is no hierarchy involved in this process, "we" are not "serving" food to "them." There is no "us" and "them.", and everyone serves themselves (free of charge, of course). All people who eat in front of the courthouse in Missoula are eating there because we are hungry and enjoy one another's company, and all are invited and encouraged to bring a dish of their very own.
The City of Missoula is trying to stop us! They have ordered us to pay them to exercise our right to free speech and assembly, to pay them to share food with our friends, neighbors, and community members. This is not right. They claim that we are "serving food to the public" without a "non-profit tax ID" and therefore are not eligible to share our resources with the community at large. It's time that we show them that Missoula cares about helping all members of the community. We need your help!
Come dine with us, bring as many people as you know who like to eat! 6pm, Sunday, in front of the Missoula County Courthouse @200 W Broadway.
Having participated in Missoula's Food Not Bombs on a number of occassions over the past couple years, this issue strikes especially near and dear to my heart. During the entire time I was involved, we were never hassled by city authorities. From what I've been reading on facebook, over the past month, this has now changed dramatically.
While I was out in paradise sitting at campfires, watching chickens eat garden weeds, and reading Jacqueline Carey novels, law enforcement officers here has been repeatedly harrassing my friends on a weekly basis for this so-called "offense". Frankly, I am outraged.
So here's what I plan to do before continuing on to any more ecovillages:
- Attend another Food Not Bombs. It won't be this Sunday, because I'll be away celebrating Beltane, but the following Sunday, I want to be there to help provide extra support.
- I intend to personally speak with at least one person on city council about this. No joke.
- Maybe, if the opportunity presents itself, raise some more awareness locally via the public airwaves if possible. We'll see.
But first, I need to care for self and family...