Food Not Bombs concluded a hearing on Monday to appeal the cease and desist order issued to the group by the Middletown Health Department last March. Hearing Officer Stacy Owens will deliberate for at least a month before announcing her decision.

The first part of the hearing, during which the City Health Department presented its side of the case, took place in August. At yesterday’s hearing, Abe Bobman ’11, who was arrested for his involvement with Food Not Bombs, and Ron Krom, Executive Director of St. Vincent DePaul Place, a local soup kitchen and homeless assistance center, testified on behalf of Food Not Bombs.

Krom served as a witness due to recent concerns that the Middletown Health Department’s cease and desist order against Food Not Bombs could prevent church members from cooking food for soup kitchens.

“It’s a known fact that a lot of church members cook the food in their own kitchens,” Bobman said. “There was this fear when the Health Department started going after Food Not Bombs that they would go after them, too.”

Until a final decision is made by the State Health Department, Middletown’s chapter of Food Not Bombs will continue to cook food in the health code-approved kitchen of the First Church of Christ, Congregational, on Court Street, which has allowed the group to use its facilities since the cease and desist order was issued.

While Bobman is satisfied with the conclusion of the hearing, his expectations are not high for the ruling.

“It’s never been likely that the hearing officer would rule in our favor,” he said. “She showed her colors a little at the end of my testimony. She asked me if our group had an anti-government stance and if we were confusing our enemy. I assured her we’re not on some crusade against the Health Department—we’re just trying to do what we do on our own terms.”

Alexandria Boccio, the Attorney representing the City, told The Hartford Courant that the Health Department’s goal is safety, not stopping a charity from serving the public.

“The only thing the City is trying to do is make sure that the food is safe,” she said.

Comments are closed