Food Not Bombs co-founder jailed in Florida

graphic by Keith McHenry,

During the month of June, police in Orlando, Florida arrested 21 members and supporters of the local Food Not Bombs group as they fed hungry people in a city park.  All were handcuffed and taken to jail for violating a city ordinance strictly limiting and requiring permits for such charity.
Orlando Food Not Bombs challenged the ordinance in court for five years, but the city prevailed in the federal appeals court last April.  Enforcement resumed on June 1, when Food Not Bombs continued its twice-weekly free meal offering in Lake Eola Park (see story in the current issue of the Nuclear Resister, page 3).
Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry, in Orlando from his New Mexico home to support the Florida group, was among those arrested June 1. Like all of those cited this month, he was also barred from Lake Eola Park. When he returned to the park with the meal crew on June 21, McHenry was arrested for trespass and taken to jail.  A bond hearing is set for July 1, which may lead to McHenry’s release pending a later July court date.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Orlando has called the group “food terrorists,” prompting a defamation suit by Ben Markeson, one of those arrested, and broadening the community debate.
Markeson has summed up the common mission of Food Not Bombs groups around the world: feeding the homeless and hungry in public locations “to protest poverty, war and other social inequalities.”
Follow the unfolding struggle at