| Tonight was my first book event, which was both exciting and scary. But it exceeded even my loftiest expectations. My hope is to use this book not only to communicate ideas but also to facilitate activism. By having the event at Sea Rocket Bistro, I hoped to introduce people to the restaurant who had never heard of it or tried it before. I also hoped to bring people together who may have not been involved in local groups like San Diego Food Not Lawns or Slow Food Urban San Diego in the past, to let them know that those groups exist. And... so far so good.
The event included a total of 7 people I'd never met before - two who heard if it from Sea Rocket's marketing, a few who heard of it from San Diego Food Not Lawns, and some who were friends of friends. The rest were people I know: there was the typical San Diego Food Not Lawns crowd, a few former co-workers who I love like family, a friend from college who I hadn't seen in 6 years, and other miscellaneous friends.
The group had a mix of gardeners sprinkled throughout it, some people who were very savvy about nutrition, and others who were generally interested in the topic but not particularly experts on anything. And it's quite possible that some of my friends who came aren't (or weren't previously) terribly interested in food at all and they just came to be nice. If that's true, I don't know it, because they were all too nice to say so. But it's a distinct possibility.
As we drank and ordered and waited for our food, I was delighted to hear the conversations going on all over the table, between people with various levels of expertise and people with different types of knowledge. It was fascinating to hear the gardeners talk to the nutrition folks - or, even better, hearing food activist friends talk to other friends who haven't had much exposure to the activism that takes place here in San Diego before. The exchange of knowledge and information was nothing short of inspiring and I hesitated to stand up and talk about the book because I didn't want to interrupt it. (Even better, some people exchanged contact information before leaving, and they will hopefully continue to keep in touch and work together in the future!)
After our food came, I stood up to say a few things about the book, and towards the end of my talk, people began brainstorming how we could organize locally, just based on the group of people present at the book release party tonight. One friend who was there has already been talking about doing something like this - finding some way to organize all of the many related San Diego organizations together so we're on the same page. I'm happy to follow her lead on this, and I hopefully made sure everyone I didn't know got my contact information before leaving so that they can stay in touch if they want to get more involved. I think the Child Nutrition Reauthorization is a great issue for San Diegoans to organize around, because everyone cares about healthy food for children, and because on of San Diego County's 5 Representatives (Susan Davis) is on the committee that is going to pass the bill.
So that was the first night on my book "tour" (even though I'm at home in my own city) and it was absolutely incredible. This is about so much more than me, and so much more than my book, and I'm glad that tonight's experience even exceeded my own expectations.
Thank you to Sea Rocket Bistro for generously hosting the event. There should be some space at the table tomorrow, so if you're reading this and you're in San Diego, please join us tomorrow (Monday, August 3) at Sea Rocket Bistro at 6pm.