Food Not Bombs Syracuse
by Andy Testo and Heather Snogles
Food Not Bombs (FNB) is one of the fastest growing revolutionary movements gaining momentum throughout the world. There are hundreds of autonomous chapters sharing free vegetarian food with hungry people and protesting war and poverty. This energetic grassroots movement is active throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Food Not Bombs organizes for peace and an end to the occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. For more than 25 years the movement has worked to end hunger and has supported actions to stop the globalization of the economy, restrictions to the movements of people, and exploitation and destruction of the Earth.
|Graphic: Food Not Bombs|
Food Not Bombs is often the first to provide food and supplies to the survivors of natural disasters and terrorist attacks. During the first three days after the 1989 earthquake, FNB was the only organization in San Francisco providing hot meals to the survivors, and the Long Beach chapter provided food after the North Ridge earthquake. Food Not Bombs was also the first to provide hot meals to the rescue workers responding to the September 11 World Trade Center attacks. FNB volunteers were among the first to provide food and help to the survivors of the tsunami in Asia and hurricane Katrina. Our volunteers organized a national collection program and delivered bus and truckloads of food and supplies to the Gulf region. We have been one of the only organizations sharing daily meals in New Orleans since Katrina. You can rely on Food Not Bombs in a disaster; we are ready to help when needed.
Food Not Bombs Syracuse is an autonomous group of individuals in Syracuse, participating in the FNB movement as a whole, and working specifically against oppression, hunger and occupation, and toward intentional and participatory community. We are the 4th discrete incarnation of FNB in Syracuse. Many of our corps of volunteers have either participated in FNB elsewhere in the past, or had the desire to create a chapter in their hometown. A group of 10 or 12 of us got together several Novembers ago to get to know each other, try to assess our community's needs, and attempt to provide some relief with what means we could. After two planning meetings we were excited to move forward and we began sharing meals.
Like all FNB chapters we organize around several key principles, including non-violence, operating on a consensus-based model and sharing vegetarian food. Beyond these core values we encourage you to check out the Food Not Bombs Handbook, written by co-founders C.T. Butler and Keith McHenry. You can read it online at www.foodnotbombs.net. It's a truly great read for any advocate and activist; you can learn about setting up your own chapter, recipes for what to do with that hundred pounds of apples you just scored, and many other FNB-related topics.
FNB Syracuse has been sharing free hot meals, clean gently used clothing, groceries and friendship with folks downtown every Saturday afternoon for well over a year now. On average we share our meal with 20-30 folks each week, none of whom are turned away due to race, class, religion, gender or any other irrelevant label. Our preparations are not just in the kitchen; it takes a few devoted volunteers many hours of work throughout the week to ensure success each Saturday. We spend most of our time collecting food that will otherwise go to waste from groceries big and small. We also spend time each week getting the word out about the program and trying to establish working relationships with new businesses that will donate their leftover vegetarian-friendly food to us. Further, we do outreach on behalf of the ideals we represent and outreach to folks who can use a helping hand. Beyond our weekly mealshare we have participated in a number of strongly related events - from sharing free food and marching in the 9/29/07 Syracuse anti-war march, to sharing free food outside the McDonalds on Erie Boulevard honoring Anti-McDonalds Day, to participating in a punk music benefit for us a few months ago.
We can always use more help and fresh ideas. We would definitely love to help new FNB chapters in the region, while expanding sustainably ourselves (i.e. more meals per week!). The best and easiest way for you to get involved is to simply show up at our kitchen the next Saturday you can. Bring a friend and appropriate clothes for the weather as our mealshares are outside. Get in touch to help with donations or expand your knowledge about FNB in general - FoodNotBombsSyracuse@riseup.net or myspace.com/foodnotbombssyracuse.
Meet up with us in the kitchen at 101 Jerome Street every Saturday from noon until 2:45 pm, or downtown in Hanover Square from 3-5 pm.