Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nourishing an Occupation 10: Occupy Thanksgiving!

Are you cooking for an Occupation? I'm looking for guest bloggers to write about their experiences of the Occupy movement and their food. Please contact me here (note: this link will take you to another website)

photo by Jeff Green
Thanksgiving 2011 was one of the most joyful days at Occupy Poughkeepsie so far and one of the most memorable Thanksgivings of my life. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I know the history of it is fraught with injustice and worse, but for me, what it has become is a day dedicated to gratitude. As Meister Eckhart said, If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice.”

Understanding that gratitude, a day of rest, and community outreach can all happen at the same time, the Occupy Poughkeepsie Moms & Dads got together to organize and host a community potluck and meal. We invited people by word of mouth, by making announcements at general assemblies and rallies, by posting it on the Occupy Poughkeepsie website and Facebook, and with a cardboard sign at the side of the road. As is the case in events like this, when the day arrived, we had no idea if anyone would come, if we'd have enough food, or if the weather would cooperate. At the end of the day, plenty of people came, we had more than enough food, and a beautiful sunny day.

When we arrived and started to set up, there was even a reporter there from YNN. He spent the day with us and enjoyed a plate of food. Click the picture below to watch his report:

As food arrived, we set it up on long tables. Volunteers, like Nikki & Russell (below), made sure that hot food stayed hot and cold food stayed cold by setting it up on wire frames with cans of sterno below.

We covered the tables with white paper and laid out crayons so that kids of all ages could decorate for us.

Lots of neighborhood kids joined us for dinner. After shooting hoops, their motto turned out to be 'Eat dessert first'. After they sampled the pies, some did actually try the mashed potatoes and I may have even seen one young boy try the green beans. We had enough food left over that some of the kids made up plates to take home to family members who weren't able to be in the park with us.

People brought turkey, Tofurkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, collard greens, green bean casserole, mushroom salad, green salad, cranberry salad, lasagna, macaroni & cheese, oh my! Marina brought her signature rice & peas and a small friend.

And then there was dessert. I made pumpkin bread pudding. We also had pumpkin pie, apple pie, apple cake, homemade chocolates, crumb cake, cheese cake, blueberry crumble, and even the kids couldn't eat it all.

We sat on the bleachers next to the basketball court and enjoyed our meal together. Our conversation turned to gratitude and we discussed what we are grateful for in our personal lives. Many of us talked about the Occupy movement as a focus of gratitude and change. For me, it is a celebration of the death of apathy. Cars drove by just a few feet away. Many beeped and waved, a few shouted 'Get a job' and one yelled 'Happy Thanksgiving, Hippies' in a not-nice way. None of that put a damper on our spirits.

photo by Jeff Green
After we had eaten our main course, a group of about 8 of us assembled a large tray of food - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and pie - and walked down to the Poughkeepsie Police station. In gratitude that the relationship between police and occupiers has been very positive here in Poughkeepsie, unlike some other cities, and in solidarity with working people who are required to be on the job on holidays we shared our abundance with the police officers. One of the ways we aim to change society is to see one another as real people instead of as resources to exploit and to treat others as we'd like to be treated.


  1. Great post! How wonderful it is to be able to share a positive message filled with gratitude and love. If those honking negatively would look closely at the occupy movement, they would find that same message...gratitude for the blessings of our great country, and love for our fellow citizens. "We are strong enough to care about the weak".

  2. Hey, nice article. But two of the images you've used need proper accreditation. Just because it's on the 'net doesn't mean it's free!

    It's the top one and the bottom one.

    Thanks. The karma will go far.

  3. Thanks for the reminder, Jeff. I meant to do that when I linked to those and then I forgot. Your pictures of the day are great!

  4. Lovely.

    (And I'm so jealous of your relationship with the police!)


  5. I just heard Poughkeepsie's encampment is being threatened with eviction. I am very sorry to hear that. I hope everyone remains safe.

  6. Von, It was great seeing you and the other 100+ people last night. There is strength in our determination and solidarity. Best to you.

  7. *poke* Hope you're alright. Thinking of you.