Los Angeles

Time for Lunch Eat-ins: Elysian Park

Labor Day was a beautiful day in Elysian Park, and it was captured by Gregory Han and Jennie Cook, whose photos are included in the slideshow below with their kind permission. Thanks to Emily Ho for making these and other photos available via her Flickr collection. (Rolling your cursor over the photo will display navigation tools: forward, reverse, play slideshow, and full screen display.)

Jennie, the gracious host

Jennie, the gracious host

Jennie Cook has been a longtime proponent of Slow Food principles and a supporter of Chefs Collaborative. As owner and chef of Cooks Double Dutch Dinette in Culver City, Jennie had developed and hosted a series of Sustainable Suppers to bring people together for conversations about shared concerns over great food. As owner and executive chef of Jennie Cooks, a catering company, her emphasis on local, sustainably produced food has created a devoted clientele.

Knowing all this we were delighted when Jennie was among the first to step forward and volunteer to organize a Labor Day eat-in as part of the Time For Lunch campaign. The fact that eat-ins would be happening all across the country on Labor Day spurred Jennie to contribute her substantial organizing talent and catering experience and dovetailed with her belief that “building community around food is a good idea.”

Emily Ho (aka chiffonade) gathering signatures

Emily Ho gathering signatures

Jennie’s team of volunteers included many friends and business associates, and several made exceptional contributions. Slow Food Los Angeles member Emily Ho served as the co-chair of the Elysian Park eat-in and managed the social networking and set-up efforts. Liz Fischbach procured tables and chairs, and actress and activist Marilu Henner spoke about her support of the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity and the far-reaching benefits of improving school lunches. Local radio station POWER 106 contributed to the festive atmosphere by providing music on site, Party On donated a bounce house, and in addition to the food brought by those who attended, the Sweet Potato Project of Solana Beach contributed a dozen pies. Kenter Canyon Farms made herb bouquets. Richenda made a fig preserve with fruit from the North Hollywood High School Garden, and the zucchini marmalade and mint for the elixir were based on produce from the 24th Street Garden. And Megan Hanson of RootDownLA jumped in with assistance early and often, helping the teams working in Elysian Park and in Hollywood. Becky Feliciano and Kandice Guerrero of Whole Foods Glendale arranged for donations of food, green utensils, and also helped publicize the event.

Over 90 guests (and several dogs) ate, talked, signed petitions, wrote to representatives and in the potluck spirit, brought their own place settings and helped set up and take down the equipment. As Jennie noted, “I never in twenty-some years of catering saw my guests break down the tables and chairs at the end of the party but they did it that day. It was heartwarming.”

Many thanks to Jennie, Emily, and all the volunteers and attendees who made the first eat-in of the day a resounding success.

Next up tomorrow: A report on the Hollywood Eat-In.