Just in case you, like our governor, are sitting up nights wondering whether how the Occupy Columbia protesters are getting nutritious, sanitary meals, here’s an explanation from Maris Burton, a member of the Occupy Columbia Food Committee:
Dear Budget and Control Board members,
It has come to my attention that the storage and cooking of food is being used in an attempt to demonstrate the need for emergency regulations to protect the public health.
I have been involved with supplying and arranging delivery of food to the Occupiers. I have taken part in several discussions regarding how to safely handle food and how to provide nutritious cooked meals. People are not living on the State House grounds; they are Occupying the grounds as a form of protest.
Since the eviction from the State House grounds on Nov 16, 2011 and the subsequent temporary restraining order that allowed the use of tents and a 24 hour occupation as part of our right to free speech, we agreed to lessen our footprint and to focus on having non-perishable items such as individually wrapped snack packets of crackers and nutrition bars, and water available to the Occupiers.
Dry goods are kept in a sealable plastic tub, not accessible to wildlife. We have a rotating food schedule of volunteers who prepare hot meals off site and bring them to the State house. We have one cooler on site that is kept supplied with ice and sometimes contains yogurts, cheese or packaged sandwich meats or creamer for coffee. Food is brought at set times and cleared away promptly.
Any used dishes are collected each evening and washed at a volunteer’s home and then returned to the State House.
There have been no incidents of food related illnesses, and there has not been a problem with any wildlife coming near the food.
I welcome any questions you may have.
Such things are mildly interesting to me, because of my own strong aversion to living in the open. I’ve always thought, for instance, that the hardest part about serving in combat infantry would be the bivouac thing. Storm Omaha Beach, with the Germans having presighted every square inch and ready to rain lead and high explosives on me? Yeah, OK, just as long as I get a warm dinner and comfortable, dry bed that night, preferably back in England. To me, the real horror stories of war are those about the defenders of Bastogne getting frozen, literally, into their foxholes every night for a month during the coldest winter in Europe in a century, or the extremely gross conditions on Okinawa, living in a muddy soup of human waste and decomposing bodies. The fighting, by comparison, seems far less objectionable.
But I see even optimal outdoor living conditions to be less than desirable. I am not what you’d ever call a Happy Camper. By definition: If I’m camping, I’m not happy. Comparatively, anyway.
So it’s interesting to know how they’re managing over at the State House.