Street Feast: A National Social Lunch Day for Ireland
On Tuesday afternoon we visited South Studios, one of Dublin's creativity hubs. During lunch around the corner at the wonderful Fumbally we ran into Samuel Bishop, designer and co-founder of Street Feast, a day of local lunches in public spaces all around Ireland on June 23rd, hosted by the people.
Street Feast started out in 2010 as a not-for-profit event to bring local communities in Ireland together through social lunches. The initiative has grown ever since, and will have its fourth edition on Sunday June 23rd at around 12 noon. People are invited to take the initiative to organize a lunch themselves, or to join a community lunch that’s happing near them.
The community lunches can take place anywhere in public space — out on the street, in a local park, or in people’s front gardens. Lunch organizers are given the possibility to register their event and location at the Street Feast website so that people from the neighborhood who are looking for a lunch can easily find it on the interactive map.
Street Feast is an appealing initiative to support and improve local communities, share great food, and encourage people to just have a good time with their neighbors. Furthermore, stimulation of street life is one of the event’s main objectives. The Irish law doesn’t seem to consider the public realm a place to hang out or spend time in — it’s hard to find public benches, and having a communal lunch together on the street is practically illegal. Street Feast really breaks the barrier when it comes to activation of public space, and aims to open up opportunities for people to turn streets, squares and parks into places that are fun and comfortable.
The Street Feast initiative perfectly fits with a recent global trend of social eating and food-sharing events, of which the Helsinki-founded Restaurant Day is likely the most famous. An important difference between Street Feast and Restaurant Day, however, is that Street Feast encourages people to organize a social gathering, while Restaurant Day enables participants to have their own little food business for one day.