Vegans Say Potluck is Protected Speech

HARTFORD (CN) – Is sharing a tofu sandwich politically protected speech? Middletown Food Not Bombs says it is. It seeks a federal injunction to keep Middletown from enforcing a cease and desist order that prevents the vegetarian peace group from sharing food with the poor.




     “Sharing food with people is our way of saying that food is a human right, that there is enough of everything to go around if communities were more empowered, and that everyone should be treated as equals,” Fred Carroll, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said in a statement.
     Abraham Bobman, one of three individual plaintiffs, says he was arrested on May 3 for participating in the group’s weekly event.
     “Sharing food with whoever wants to join us is how we oppose the hierarchy that exists where a few have much and many have little,” Bobman said.
     The cited two members of the group, charged one plaintiff with a misdemeanor, and seized and destroyed food prepared for the Sunday gathering, according to the complaint.
     Food Not Bombs says it does not “dispense food” in the manner that the city’s health code regulates, like a restaurant or a soup kitchen. The group says it gathers as a community to share food, in the form of a potluck, as a statement of equality and abundance.
     The group says it has been sharing vegan and vegetarian meals on Main Street for at least 10 years. The plaintiffs are represented by Elizabeth Conklin with Livingston, Adler & Pulda.

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