Grassroots: Pertaining to the common people in contrast to the elite (Webster Dictionary).


Family, Friends, Grassroots organization members, Gardeners, Faith Community Member


Grassy picnic place; living room, public library meeting space, boat cockpit


Sculpture of grass with roots and stalks of different heights—can be constructed from cardboard, paper Mache, or clay, fired, and glazed; on each stalk is a person from various ethnic groups and of different sizes, ages, etc., each holding tiny American flag.


Bowl of wild flowers sitting on top of piece of grass sod.


  • “Blue Grass”
  • “Grassroots” by Earth Mama (Joyce Johnson Rouse)


First Course: Roast Kabocha Soup with Lemon Grass Cream
Wine: 2006 Mason Cellars Sauvignon Blanc: brisk, grassy undertones; lemon zest and tart melon
Main Course: Steamed Lemongrass Alaskan King Crab, Jack’s Thai Green Beans, and Dandelion Salad with Mango
Wine: Frei Brothers 2006 Reserve Chardonnay Wine: toasty aromas, complex citrus fruit and mellow finish.
Dessert:Minted Lemongrass Sorbet

Conversation Opener

“What act of defiance, advocacy, or engagement that most people don’t know about that you’ve either done or thought about doing, i.e., sneaking on to the subway by jumping the turnstile, participating in a letter/email writing campaign to challenge the status-quo; or inviting a person outside the mainstream to dinner?”

Questions to be Asked after a Glass of Wine

  • Are there grassroots groups that you either support or believe are accomplishing something important? Please explain.
  • Grassroots actions seem to happen in two waves. First there is the cutting edge with protests like parades and marches that raise awareness of the issues and then comes the second wave that focuses on bringing people together to co-create solutions and take actions to solve the problems. Which wave are you most comfortable participating in? Why?
  • The growth of grassroots organizing in the past two decades worldwide is shown, in part, by United Nations Development Program report of the formation of approximately 40,000 non-governmental organizations in the world in addition to community-based organizations which number in the hundreds of thousands. Can you describe situations/circumstances where these groups have been a powerful catalyst for change?


  • What grassroots action could you imagine taking that would address a current economic, social or political challenge? What would be the first step you could take? Are you as an individual or as a group willing to do so?
  • Research for next Operation Bon Appétit Dinner grassroots groups that you find and believe are the most innovative or effective in its actions. Plan how you might help them.
  • Sociologist Paul Ray, who has surveyed Americans and their values for two decades, found that there is an an emerging subculture–Cultural Creatives–composed of 60 million Americans (200 Million around the world) who value healthier communities, corporate social responsibility and ecological sustainability and believe they need to be involved in making that happen.( Ray, Paul and Anderson, Sherry: The Cultural Creatives, Harmony Books, NY, 2000). Many of the Cultural Creatives might not be involved in organized NGOs but do provide a powerful resource for change. The website has been recently formed to put CCs in touch with one another.
  • Read and discuss the values of Cultural Creatives and how you can expand your Operation Bon Appetit Dinner Parties to include more of them to aid your efforts to Change the World One Dinner Party at a Time.

Closing Toast

“We are one human family and one Earth Community with a common destiny. Towards this end it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life and to future generations.” –Earth Charter Preamble

About Us

Operation Bon Appetit is an initiative of the Cultural Innovations Agency, Inc. (CIA), a 501c3 nonprofit corporation, with the mission to engage ordinary people in sustainability and social change that emphasizes conviviality, arts, conversations and actions. The ethical framework for the CIA recognizes the interconnection of economic justice, human rights, respect for nature and a culture of peace.

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