Shotgun Review

In Case You Missed It: OPENeducation

By Christina Linden September 20, 2011

Chez Panisse turned forty a few weeks ago, and the anniversary was marked by any number of food-centric fundraisers and celebrations, as well as a flurry of media attention. The Chez Panisse Foundation is also officially changing its name this fall to become the Edible Schoolyard Project. It is launching a national expansion of the school lunch and education program it started in Berkeley in 1996. OPENrestaurant is a collective founded originally by Chez Panisse employees who have been cooking and serving food in intricate events at arts institutions since 2008. A bevy of artists and activists have since joined the group to work together to create ever-expanding and more complex events, albeit still anchored on the production and distribution of meals.

OPENrestaurant celebrated Chez Panisse’s anniversary on the lawns and outdoor ramps around the UC Berkeley Art Museum on August 27, 2011 with OPENeducation, a daytime event with the feel of a small-town food festival. Fare included watermelon, fancy baloney sandwiches, tamales, and fresh grilled corn. Goat milking, pickling, bee keeping, and chapati-making demonstrations took place throughout the day. La Cocina presented perfect, fresh, handmade tortillas and salsa. Complimenting these activities were the Digger Bread Workshop, who baked on site, and Alison Pebworth, who produced refreshing herbed aguas frescas and lemonade with students from METAS, an educational enrichment program at Contra Costa College. With all this activity, it was hard to go hungry for food or conversation engaged with the

Students from METAS at Contra Costa College at OPENeducation

Students from METAS at Contra Costa College and artist Alison Pebworth mix custom sodas at a lemonade stand for alternative beverages. Photo: Claudine Gossett.

potential for political and social transformation, any way you worked it. Evoking the stand Mario Savio took in 1964 by climbing up on a police car at a student protest on the UC Berkeley campus, a series of talks on "the corporatization of our school systems and the industrialization of our food systems" were delivered from the roof of a sedan on the lawn.1 There was a copyleft-oriented library of cookbooks, food books, and art books from which to duplicate and sample. Like the "three sisters" garden that Amanda Eicher planted to replace the ornamental beds at the entrance to the museum, the infusion of carefully considered conversations and eats felt like a substantial and nourishing contribution at a moment when it seems especially important to reconsider the potential for keeping the food movement OPEN to as many publics as possible.

 

 

OPENeducation took place at the UC Berkeley Art Museum on August 27, 2011.

 

 

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NOTES:
1. As described in the printed material distributed at the event’s entrance entitled “OPENeducation: Your Notebook.”

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