If I had the time it would be better to keep me on track if I would blog every day during this process… but these days are full and there is much to say about what has taken place over the last month so forgive me if this blog is more like a sampler plate, with only a small taste of many ideas…
Since the last blog there have been several food parties that have gone down. We had a food party/writing workshop at La Pena during which the incredible writer/poet/awesome man, Marvin K. White led a workshop where we captured food memories on paper bags and paper plates and then shared these writings. This process was magical. The room was packed and the stories that people shared had folks laughing and crying and everything in between.
The weeks following this included working in Verdese Carter Community Garden out in East Oakland led by the amazing Alicia Johnson. This young woman is powerful and there are beautiful folks, youth and adults who are out there tending this garden where they are growing greens, beans and pumpkins.
Last weekend was the performance, From the Field to the Table at UC Berkeley. This theater piece was the culmination of a five week community engagement process that was led by Paloma McGregor of Urban Bush Women and co facilitated by myself and Lisa Wymore. There were 35 performers who co created this piece, providing stories, songs, movement and video. It was performed over 3 nights to completely packed houses each night. It was a powerful process that reaffirmed for me that there are endless stories about food that need to be told and there are endless ways in which to tell these stories…
And today the ODB crew performed at Acta Non Verba’s Oakland Food Day event out at Tossafaronga Park where they have their garden. A beautiful mixture of kids and adults sharing food, making sweet potato butter, stir frying greens and broccoli, selling kombucha tea and so much more… I felt the power and affirmation of community, connecting to many folks that I know and many more that I am now getting to know.
We are now officially in the fall season and the season of the dead which is one of my favorite times of year… when the veil between realms is the thinnest. My company will be celebrating this ancestor season with spontaneous songs in various locations prior to our upcoming performances at CounterPULSE in November… stay tuned…
I want to shout out to some of the folks who are doing important food work in my Oakland Community who inspire me and whose work should be supported:
- Saqib Keval – People’s Grocery and People’s Kitchen
- Alicia Johnson – Verdese Carter Community Garden
- Kelly Carlisle – Acta Non Verba: youth urban farm project
- Jason Harvey – Oakland Food Connection
Lastly, let me say that it is important that we vote this election. Many things at stake besides the presidency. One is prop 37 which will require labeling of GMO food. Read up on this proposition and make your decision accordingly.
In the meantime, eat well and digest in peace.
Red Beans and ricefully yours…