Potlucks & Events Wranglers

Potlucks & Barbecues

I did a previous post about barbecues, and in yesterday’s post I mentioned meeting neighbors through a real world event. I’ll address both those issues in a bit. But first, let’s start with a definition for potluck.

potluck foodA potluck is a gathering where each guest contributes a dish of food that is to be shared…The word pot-luck appears in the 16th century English work of Thomas Nashe, and used to mean “food provided for an unexpected or uninvited guest, the luck of the pot.” The sense “communal meal, where guests bring their own food,” appears to have originated in the late 19th century or early 20th century, particularly in Western North America, either by influence from potlatch or possibly by extension of traditional sense of “luck of the pot.

Getting back to my BBQ post, how are BBQs and potlucks related?

  • bbqBBQs can include potluck food sharing.
  • Barbecued or grilled meat isn’t necessarily the central aspect of a potluck.
  • BBQs are usually outdoor events; potlucks are more evenly distributed between outdoor and indoor.
  • Either can happen anytime during the year, but BBQs are traditionally associated with summer.
  • BBQs generally have more central planning and financial aspects because of the main course meat(s).

Potlucks & Events Wranglers

I'll do itNow here’s where the events wrangler aspect comes in:

Potlucks will only happen if an amateur or professional events wrangler gets involved. To get the ball rolling takes that one person who sees value in the event and says, “we’re gonna do this!” Then an events wrangler, who may or may not have been the one to suggest the potluck, has to make it happen. A tradition of having potlucks can be established, and this will assist in repeat performances — if the first one is successful…

Even in an environment where potlucks have been done in the past, such as a church congregation which has had multiple potlucks each year, it still takes someone to lead the charge. We had a potluck brunch after church two weeks ago. But it didn’t just magically happen. One person, an initiator, had to say, “let’s do a potluck.” Then an events wrangler, either the initiator or someone else, had to lead the organizing and putting on of that church potluck. And it was delicious and fun — thanks, Carey! 🙂

Potlucks & Neighbors

potluck, neighborsRegarding meeting the neighbors, potlucks can be a great ad hoc way to welcome a new person or family to the neighborhood, or they can be annual events which provide an opportunity to meet new neighbors and to re-meet neighbors you don’t frequently interact with. If you’ve got some new neighbors, maybe you should organize an informal potluck to welcome them to the neighborhood. If you’re the new kid on the block, get to know one or a couple neighbors, then discuss the idea of a potluck as something you think would be a fun event to help plan. If one of your neighbors agrees, helping organize and put on the event might be the best way possible for you to get to know others living around you.

Potlucks are pretty much a real-life event, but here’s a cyberspace question for you:

Because it’s difficult to share food with the virtual neighbors discussed in yesterday’s post, can you think of any ways to do something along the lines of a “virtual potluck” that you’d be the events wrangler for if you connect with neighbors you’d want to invite to such a potluck?

To wrap up today’s post, ask yourself these three questions:potluck

  1. If you’ve been to a potluck before, was it a good use of your time and energy?
  2. If you’ve never been to a potluck before, does it sound like something you’d like to do?
  3. If your answer to either the first or second question was yes, when are you going to start finding people to help you organize a potluck in the near future?


If you’re interested in organizing a potluck and haven’t done that before, use Google to search for answers to specific questions you have about doing potlucks. And get at least one co-organizer to help you. Below is a bit of background info and sources of potluck inspiration!

Reasons For Potlucks

There are lots of reasons for having potlucks, including:

  • Central event of a fun social gathering, like a block party or just a get-together for a group of friends.
  • Minimizing centralized food organization and expense for events.
    • Reunions or other large family gatherings.
    • BarCamps and other participant-driven events.
    • Church congregation gatherings.
    • Annual event for many organizations.
  • Optimizing personal or family meal preparation and variety.
  • Building or strengthening relationships and trust.
    • Connecting a neighborhood or starting a neighborhood association.
    • Starting a goods and services sharing group.
    • Starting a dinner co-op (sort of a recursive or seed potluck…).

18 Online Sources Of Potluck Inspiration

The public is invited to Pequot Library’s Great Lawn on Friday, June 10, starting at 6:30 p.m. for the 11th Annual Potluck, Outdoor Concert, and Campout…This favorite, traditional community event on Pequot Library’s one-of-a-kind Great Lawn is free and open to all. Potluck Supper begins at 6:30 p.m…Stay until 9 p.m. for The Big Pillow Fight and families are invited to pitch their tents and camp out all night… http://www.minutemannewscenter.com/articles/2016/06/10/entertainment/doc5756e1fb953e3709782335.txt

A meal with the neighbors — One Wednesday of every summer month, Carolyn Supinger and her neighbors come together to organize a community-based potluck…As neighbor Bill Bibbler said, “If it wasn’t for Carolyn this wouldn’t have happened…“It all really started with heirloom tomatoes,” said Supinger. Her husband was sure no one had ever tasted this unique variety of tomato…they invited all of their neighbors over to try it…

Hawai‘i Farmers Union United…is presenting its monthly locavore potluck…at Mill House Restaurant at Maui Tropical Plantation. This month’s featured chef is Kyle Kawakami of Maui Fresh Streatery, voted “Best Food Truck”…Kawakami will prepare a dish using a canoe crop, hemp seeds and moringa…The evening will also include a produce swap, a farmers market table, prize giveaways, networking and more…

It’s Food Forward’s mission to not let such fruit go to waste..since he started the group…with a simple backyard pick, it has grown into an energized urban food-gleaning organization…It also mobilizes teams at…farmers’ markets, consolidating all produce that farmers don’t want to take back with them…putting up flyers on the surrounding Starbucks community boards announcing a pick and a potluck…

Actress Shailene Woodley will be stumping for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during a “Potluck For Bernie” event Tuesday night in her hometown of Simi Valley. Woodley has been traveling up and down the coast…The RV tour has been a grass-roots effort by the three actors and is not officially part of the Sanders campaign…

Farm Potluck at Mountain Bounty Farm — Mountain Bounty is a beautiful 50-acre farm, offering the oldest and longest running CSA in Nevada County! Join John Tecklin and Angie Tomey for this Mountain Bounty Farm potluck!…Farmer John will have some pre-packed CSA boxes for sale so you can get a taste of what it’s like to receive a fresh box of veggies every week!…We’ll circle up for dinner at 6pm…

Ways to Get to Know Your Neighbors — Whether you live on a quiet cul-de-sac or a busy street, it’s important to get to know your neighbors to build a sense of community. Hanging out with neighborhood friends is also a wonderfully convenient pastime – no car, travel or reservations required! Take advantage of the…warm weather and organize an old-fashioned block party…a collaborative potluck party or an outdoor game night… 

Building community for long-term prosperity …There is no clear path to building a strong community. Different nuances, different people…will all lead down a different path, but there are some common ideas that can be used to develop your…town into the community that you would like it to be…Here are some of the potential ways that you can work to build community…# 20. Throw a block party, community BBQ or potluck…

A free, block party in the Cariboo Heights neighbourhood…Highlights include: Free hotdogs…popcorn, face painting…refreshments and mingling with neighbours. It’s a potluck, so bring a dish to share…The main reason you should go is to meet your neighbours. The Vancouver Foundation conducted a study…and found the most pressing concern among Lower Mainland residents was a growing sense of isolation…

No matter how many times we make a menu…and plan ahead, there are going to be days…when we just can’t get it together to make a healthy meal for dinner…I’ve found a different solution: neighborhood dinner swaps. Think of neighborhood dinner swaps like the neighborhood potlucks…Another way you can structure your dinner swap is to collaborate with several neighbors, say three other families…
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/23/dining/23coop.html  http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/how-to-create-a-dinner-co-op/

There is a powerful social aspect to sharing…sharing works even better with three, five, ten or even 50 people all sharing in group format. Sharing is social…Call it trust-building. Trust-building is best accomplished face to face…Hosting a potluck is a great way to start a neighborhood sharing group…The potluck is an iconic community gathering experience that symbolically reinforces the idea of sharing…

Our [Neighborhood Association] Annual Potluck Picnic is right around the corner…We had such a blast last year we’re doing it again so, come join us, enjoy some music and good food and meet your neighbors. In fact, bring a neighbor or two with you!…Last year you took the word “potluck” to heart. We had so many wonderful side dishes I wonder what we’ll get to taste this year! Please bring a side dish to share with 5-10 of your neighbors…

The Pollinator Potluck…featured oven-fresh pizza, fine wine, and an educational speech about the value of public gardens to migratory birds. In its second year, the Greenwich Garden Club (GGC) is using potlucks to bolster a sense of community….we thought the potluck was the best way to not have to charge for something, and everybody brings the beverages, the food, and it’s just a real community gathering…

It was a potluck dinner unlike any P.E.I. had likely seen before: no meat, no cheese — not even any honey — were allowed in any of the dishes, because they were all vegan…60 people showed up Monday to the first monthly vegan potluck…The 23-year-old vegan said she thought the dinner would attract about 30 people…”I’ve been wanting to get a sense of the vegan community on P.E.I. — finding each other was the issue…

People of all ages, races and religions were invited to enjoy a potluck dinner at First Christian Church…The catch, people had to bring a dish representing their culture, and people couldn’t sit by anyone they already knew. “It’s been a rewarding experience for me to just see the different culture aspects…Hands Across the Table for Racial Healing focused on getting to know different types of people by breaking bread and asking questions…

Vineyard Voyagers, Inc…will host a film screening, potluck, and presentation of new projects on Sunday…The film explores the concept of “nature deficit disorder” in an age of technology and “stranger danger,” while examining the impact of outdoor activity on the health and development of toddlers, children, and adolescents…the gathering will include a zero-waste potluck meal…

Potlucks are cropping up everywhere these days in a resurgence of popularity and it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. Who would not enjoy an event where there are so many dishes to choose from?…The lure of potlucks is that people love to share their favorite dishes and in fact, I’ve tasted some of the best foods I have ever had at these gatherings. Plus I have gained the bonus of learning some new cooking tricks from fellow contributors…

The California City Arts Commission is sponsoring a drum circle and potluck to celebrate the Summer Solstice on Monday, June 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. The public is invited to attend and bring drums, rattles, singing bowls and/or their best voice or share available percussion to help raise a cone of positive energy and celebrate the spring equinox… http://www.tehachapinews.com/lifestyle/2016/06/03/pot-luck-drum-circle-to-celebrate-summer-solstice.html


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s