Sat 9/19 @ 4:30 – 7pm
The whole city of Cleveland is holding a potluck and you’re invited. Bring your favorite dish and join your neighbor citizens for Vital Neighborhoods Working Group’s annual Potluck in the Park. Held at League Park in Hough, the event features good people, good food and a tour of historic Baseball Heritage Museum.
We spoke with Marka Fields, Chief City Planner at the Cleveland City Planning Commission, about the event and the importance of breaking bread with your neighbors from all sides of town.
CoolCleveland: How did the idea for Potluck in the Park come about?
Marka Fields: The idea for the Potluck came about as a result of one of the former members, Freddy Collier, traveling to Germany and witnessing a citywide potluck. He was so impressed with the sense of community that was displayed at the potluck that he decided to bring the idea back to Cleveland. When the idea was presented to the group there was some hesitation initially because we were a small group and it appeared to be an enormous task.
In the meantime, a group of local gardeners participated in a bus trip to Detroit where they witnessed a similar type of potluck event. They too had an interest in holding a potluck in Cleveland. As a result, the two groups decided to collaborate. Re-Imagining Cleveland and Cleveland Neighborhood Progress partnered with the Vital Neighborhoods group to hold the first Potluck in the Park at Edgewater Park.
What does the Vital Neighborhoods Working Group hope to accomplish? When was the group established and why?
The Vital Neighborhoods group sees the potluck as an opportunity bring a diverse group together from neighborhoods throughout the city of Cleveland come together, share a meal and to build a sense of community that transcends neighborhood boundaries. We also use the event to promote the sustainability efforts taking place in the city and to educate residents on various resources that can help improve their quality of life and empower them to make positive changes in their own neighborhoods.
Vital Neighborhoods is a group that formed out of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit in 2010. The group is comprised of volunteers who have a passion for helping to improve the quality of life in Cleveland neighborhoods. The mission of the organization is to cultivate sustainable neighborhoods of choice where residents are engaged, empowered, enlightened, resilient and self-reliant. Each year the organization focuses on an element of sustainability that contributes to the creation of a vital neighborhood. Vital Neighborhoods selects a project each year that gives a tangible example of that element and encourages neighbors to work collaboratively and take advantage of the assets in their community.
Why should people have this event on their calendars?
The potluck is a great event that has been well attended and has drawn a very diverse crowd over the past three years. It is always a great time with lots of food and entertainment. This year it will be held at League Park, one of Cleveland’s great historical assets. In addition to the food, we will have artist performances and a historical baseball reenactment and children will have an opportunity to come out onto the field to hit the ball. Free tours will be given of the Baseball Heritage Museum. It will prove to be a great time for all attendees.
How was the location chosen?
We alternate the locations between the east side and the west side of Cleveland each year. When we were looking for an east side location one of our members, Elle Adams, who has a garden in the Hough neighborhood, recommended League Park. The idea was well received by the rest of the committee. Committee members were excited about the opportunity to hold the event at the newly restored baseball park that represents such a great part of Cleveland’s history.
Anything else you’d like to add?
The Potluck is free and open to the public.
Be sure to RSVP – https://eventbrite.com