The McKeldin Diet: Feeding the citizens of Occupy Baltimore

(Baltimore Sun photo/Richard…)
October 26, 2011|By Richard Gorelick | The Baltimore Sun

Tonight’s dinner: vegetable stew (vegan, gluten free, contains soy), rice (vegan, gluten free, soy free), fruit salad (vegan, gluten free, soy free), and green salad with avocado and tomatoes (vegan, gluten free, soy free)!

Within the first days of Occupy Baltimore, a food committee was formed and most days since the committee of volunteers has prepared meals in the various kitchens around town that have been made available for the volunteers.

Don Barton, who works with Baltimore Free Farm, is among the volunteers who prepare dinners for the McKeldin Square occupiers. "We try to make enough food to serve 100 people a night," Barton said. The meals are made possible by donations of both raw materials and cash. A single donor gave the food committee $1,500.

Dinner is served at 6:30 p.m. on the Occupy Baltimore site on a first come, first served basis. Using a Google Group, the food committee sends out daily message asking for assistance and informing the Occupy Baltimore community of needs. Often, the committee's most pressing need is for transporting the prepared food down to the Occupy Baltimore site. On days when there aren't enough volunteer available to prepare or transport dinners, a call for a potluck goes out in advance.

The prepared meals off site are supplemented by on site drop-offs of bread, fruit and cereal bars. Joe Squared has been a frequent contributor to the cause, sometimes delivering as many as 20 pizzas at a time to the site.

While the food commitee operates largely under the Food Not Bombs standards, which proscribe the use of meat and dairy, there are no hard-and-fast rules about the onsite donations. The only standing request for anyone contributing or providing food is that it be clearly labeled.

One culinary highlight of the occupation so far was the Oct. 14 Friday Pieday, whose planned menu not only sounds quite appetizing but belies the impression of the occupiers as humorless bunch: "Shepherd's pie (vegan, gluten free! no soy, has almond) Simon and Garfunkel Pasta Pie - seasoned with parsley sage rosemary and thyme harhar (vegan, has gluten and soy), apple pie (vegan, has gluten), strawberry pie (vegan, has gluten) and salad (not technically a pie. vegan, no gluten, no soy, no nuts)."

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