Imagine a summer’s day on which millions of us, throughout the UK, sit down to have lunch together – in the middle of our streets, around our tower blocks and on every patch of common ground. The food, entertainment and decorations we will have grown, cooked or created ourselves. This will be a day to break bread with our neighbours and to put a smile on Britain’s face. It’s called The Big Lunch and this is your invitation!
This morning in Covent Garden piazza, dozens of volunteers helped build this invitation out of 35,000 pieces of fruit and vegetable, including cauliflower, turnips, garlic bulbs, cabbage, carrots, oranges, lemons and apples. The boxes of veg were given away after these photoes were taken, so expect an awful lot of cauliflower cheese being eaten tonight across the UK.
Go to The Big Lunch website, which will go live tonight, and type in your postcode to find out about Big Lunches in your area. I will be hosting a Camden Town Big Lunch and if you would like to get involved, please do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m calling on local musical, theatrical, artistic, horticultural and culinary talents, to name but a few. Sharing a meal with neighbours is something rarely done in London, where many people don’t even know who their neighbours are. The Big Lunch is a brilliant excuse for introducing yourself to those people that you’ve seen on the street or in the shops for years, but never quite managed to speak to…
The idea was thought up by Tim Smit, co-founder and chief executive of the innovative Eden Project in Cornwall and resident of the bustling port town Fowey.
The seed for The Big Lunch was sown when Tim heard an inspiring story at a party in the Netherlands:
A man was walking along a notoriously rough street in Amsterdam and was mugged. In an effort to get revenge, the man decided to go on a hunt for his mugger, taking a video camera with him, hoping to confront him about the crime on film. He went to the house where the mugger was said to live, but found it was not the right place. Instead, he met the people that did live there and they offered to join in the search party. They ended up going from house to house, with people joining in the quest at each stage, until nearly everyone on the street knew each other through this unlikely and epic quest. This was turned into a program on Dutch community television and attracted a cult following. It got Tim thinking about how a shared aim can make it easier for neighbours to start talking to each other.
The Big Lunch is about “the symbolic power of breaking bread with your neighbours. Be brave – meeting new people is an act of will“, says Tim, “But there are good results and it makes streets safer.”
For more photos and details see my Camden Town blog for YourLocal London.