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Bonnaroo 2013: Food, sounds, and social justice

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What food goes best with Paul McCartney, Björk, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis? After last week’s trip to the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, I now know it’s orzo with locally-sourced sundried tomato pesto.

That was just one of several dishes on the menu at a series of dinners organized at Bonnaroo by Oxfam America and our allies Eat for Equity. Volunteers served a meal embodying the five principles of the GROW Method—save food, shop seasonal, eat less meat, support farmers, and cook smart—to 50 music fans for three consecutive nights. Along with a great dinner, participants got a taste of social justice issues when they joined a discussion about how we can become better global citizens by changing the ways we consume and prepare food.

Photo: Bob Ferguson/Oxfam America
Photo: Bob Ferguson/Oxfam America

This was the first time we hosted a meal at Bonnaroo, but it’s actually Oxfam’s sixth consecutive year reaching out to music fans at one of the world’s largest and most beloved festivals. The Manchester, Tennessee, event drew 80,000 people this year and is widely known not just for its remarkable lineup of important music artists (including Oxfam-supporting artists like Wilco, The National, and Cat Power), but as a hotbed of sustainability and activism, too.

Last week Oxfam’s nine-person team—two staffers and seven volunteers—organized a number of fun events to raise awareness. In addition to the GROW method community meals,  festival-goers could visit the Oxfam tent in Planet Roo, sign on to our petition to reform outdated US food aid programs, and decorate recycled t-shirts with Oxfam logos. At the end of the day, more than 3,500 people signed up for Oxfam and joined our efforts to right the wrongs of poverty and hunger.

Photo: Bob Ferguson/Oxfam America
Photo: Bob Ferguson/Oxfam America

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