Streams

Dinner at Occupy Wall Street and the Farmers Who Grow It

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Every night at Zuccotti Park, dinner is served around 7 P.M. What protesters may not realize is that their meals are made from fresh, organic produce donated by a dozen or so small farms located throughout the Northeast.

Since the early weeks of the protest, regional farmers have been coming down independently to Occupy Wall Street to donate fruits and vegetables. In those days, meals were prepared in volunteers' homes. Yet, as the protest quickly gained momentum, food preparation needed to get more organized, and Occupy Wall Street set up a daily dinner operation out of a soup kitchen in East New York, Brooklyn.

Once they got use of this professional cooking space, groups of farmers from different regional areas—from upstate New York, Vermont and western Massachusetts—started making regular trips down with produce.

"They all had this related thing: They're small organic farmers competing against big commercial and industrial farmers," says Heather Squire, the full-time Occupy Wall Street volunteer who manages the space. “The kitchen became a place for farmers to come together. It represented that place to take their issues to."

Now, participating farmers from Massachusetts and Vermont make deliveries twice a week, and they've created an organization to represent their efforts and raise awareness of issues affecting the rural small-farm community.

Watch a video of life behind-the-scenes at the Occupy Wall Street kitchen.

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Comments [20]

lunaticfringer from Pacific NW

This is absolutely beautiful. Passing it on to our local Occupy movement.

To: debra hartley. Did you even watch the video? These are small - SMALL - organic farmers. These aren't the big agribusiness operations. I was raised on a farm, still live in an area where farming is going on. My dad nor his neighbors had big-azz farms. What they had was enough to support their families, maybe turn a profit, & keep afloat.

Check out companies like ADM, do some reading or books on tape about agribusiness ruining family farming. Our city always has free dinners at various venues around town; I would hope that's repeated all over this country, and I tend to think it is so check our wherever you're "stuck" somewhere on the road over the holidays.

Nov. 19 2011 02:45 PM
debra hartley

Why dont they go to the truck stops and feed the truckers that will be sitting over much of the holidays, not able to go home cause of being stuck out on our nations hwys cause of lack of freight.
The farmers helped themselves by profiting wall street by selling their corn at such a high price s for yrs. creating food prices to go higher all over the world just to produce ethanol.
SO HOW DO I KNOW THIS CAUSE IM A TRUCK DRIVER THAT TRAVELS ALL OVER THE US. AND DO NOT SEE ANY MORE OF THOSE BIG PLANTS ANYMORE CAUSE THEY WENT BANKRUPT. GOOGLE IT AND YOU WILL SEE EXACTLY WHAT THE FARMERS DID. THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR STARVING ALOT OF PEOPLE.

Nov. 19 2011 12:14 PM
Papi from Portland, Oregon USA

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Congress/118171638290728

Nov. 19 2011 06:31 AM
Sis Everly from Oxford,MD

The Peoples good is the Highest Law (Cicero)

Nov. 16 2011 03:47 PM
Andrea from Sonoma

This is amazing !!! As a small organic vegetable farmer I find this inspiring and a true example of community. Shout-out to Western Mass where I learned to farm!

http://agrarianstyle.tumblr.com/

Nov. 15 2011 02:01 AM
Burner

@David, just do it! try going there and asking for the kitchen. keep moving upstream until you find the honcho that can use your talents.

Nov. 09 2011 10:25 PM
Mike

If the point of OWS is to end poverty and get laws changed to create a proper tax code to help redistribute wealth, then where is Ocuupy Congress and Occupy White House, where there are people that are actually in a position to make a change, as opposed to Wall Street, where people just play within the corrupt system that our government has provided.....try occupying common sense

Nov. 09 2011 11:52 AM
David

Does anyone know who to contact about helping with the food prep? I'm a cook and have a couple days off each week.

Nov. 08 2011 11:48 PM
Susan

Lovely

Nov. 08 2011 05:12 PM
Christopher from Canada

This is awsome guys, keep it up. Now the only thing left is to figure out how to solve the starvation problem and eliminate money. I saw this video on 2012 and the Birth of a New World, should check it out. Later

Nov. 08 2011 04:47 PM
Mary

Didn't our country start this way?

I am really impressed....

Nov. 08 2011 02:06 PM
tls

Greetings from Occupy Houston.This is fantastic! Thank you for your work and for inspiring us..

Nov. 07 2011 08:38 PM
Michael from Upper Eastisde, NY

Good article. Way to go heather

Nov. 07 2011 04:47 PM
k webster from Manhattan

This "red herring" argument that there is a conflict of interest between providing food for Zuccattii Park OWS and poor and hungry people?
The point of OWS is to end poverty. End it. Not allow poverty to go on with food "charity" as the steam valve for growing inequality.
Struggling to end the causes of poverty is in the best interests of all of us. And we all get to support the people who are working at the Park.

Nov. 06 2011 10:17 AM
andrea silverman from ny, ny

disturbed by this, really? first, you should understand that the donations they speak of are for OWS, food/kitchen has been allotted money and they are trying to give back to the farmers. they also state that they use the facilities when the soup kitchen is finished. and as far as feeding the homeless, well perhaps you should take a trip to zuccotti one night. no one is turned away from the food line, and there are plenty of homeless eating that food. look and see the beauty of this piece!

Nov. 05 2011 01:48 PM
Kathleen

I'm disturbed that facilities, resources, efforts, and donations are being used to feed protesters instead of the homeless.

Nov. 05 2011 09:55 AM
Pam

Heather,
You are doing a wonderful community service and this may lead to a job eventually. I work with mentally ill poverty level clients in Trenton, NJ and I see every day the need that is so great out there.
Hang in there girl, things will come to you.

Hugs,
Pam

Nov. 05 2011 08:17 AM
MeGo from Near Union Square

This is so wonderful on every level! Excellent!

Nov. 05 2011 03:06 AM
Jane from Brooklyn

great story. I was at Zuccatti's park last night around dinner time, and was pleasantly surprised by the healthy choices being served for dinner: beautiful kale, and brown rice. Way to go!

Nov. 04 2011 10:06 AM
Jim

Awesome. True Patriots.

Nov. 03 2011 05:01 PM

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