The Challenge


How might we better connect food production and consumption? read the brief


Public Kitchen

UPDATED! This is an idea for a public kitchen where you can go and bring any product you would like to process, fruit for juices or marmelade, vegetables for pickles, meet or fish for smoking... The shop provides the necessary equipment as well as trained persons - "grandmas" - who can explain how to do it. People come and produce their own food!

This is about the missing knowledge and equipment (and space!) in our kitchens to process produce! This idea of a "public kitchen" where you can go and get advice as well as the necessary tools makes having good organic food convenient, supports the value of cooking yourself and a social experience and it helps to promote healthy food and preserving traditional processing methods and receipes. 

You can use the juice press for example and there is also someone who knows the tricks - just as grandma used to.

Juice is just one example amongst many; we could also think of canning, smoking meat/fish, centrifuging honeycombs, baking bread etc. which also shows children where the food actually comes from and how it is treated! 


The original idea is to bring your own homegrown food to process it in the public kitchen. It also teams up with local farmers who deliver locally grown food to be sold at the kitchen or where you can go for picking apples, strawberries, pumpkins.. (thanks Maia Smith!)

The kitchen could also be part of a public garden and grow its own supply. (Thanks to Tania Jiménez and Kat Caverly!). Waste material from the kitchen would find its way to a compost in the garden where it is given back to the natural cycle.

To give consumers an idea where there food actually comes from and how it is treated before it arrives in the supermarkets, the kitchen could organize trips to farms, abattoirs, animal breedings, burger manufacturers and the like and show/involve people in the process for a day. (Pete)


There will always be staff, the "grandmas", who overlook the facilities and who can offer assistance on receipes, cooking and using the tools.

People can pay rent per use or become members aswell. A subscription (thanks Ronan Harringtion) should include certain bonuses and incentrives like cheaper price or some kind of receipe newsletter etc.


Local chefs could offer open tutorials, cooking classes and ´exchange your meals´-evenings, where people come over to cook several dishes, exchange them in the end and bring home food they can defrost during the week after work. (thanks to Tania Jiménez, Katie Brennan, Rachel Greenwald and Lorenn)

Other possible offers might be after school programms for kids, where they can learn how to cook and get education about healthy food. (thanks Jill Dovale). This educational aspect could also be interesting in general for everyone, for example who to store food the right way etc.

A small restaurant or store could be attached as well and corporate/group events, community groups or businesses could have events where ´people go as a group pick food, come to the communal kitchen for some fresh juice, and then perhaps donate the pickled or canned items to local food shelters´ (thanks to Maia Smith)

Also local supermarkets could help and donate their leftovers (Thanks to Peter Matzen) and products close to their sell-by dates. This products can be used to cook dishes, can vegetables etc that can be sold in the kitchen shop or given freely to people in needs.

A Pop-Up version would be a great addition to ensure accessibility and spread the word (Audrey Barnes).

Neighbourhood Food Foraging Treasure Hunts                                   Another idea for a general service or special evening courses might be to encourage people to bring food they store at home since along time but have no idea what to cook with it. People can exchange new recipes and fresh ideas for their diet and the stored food will be kept from getting thrown away.  

Focus on Health                                                                        To stress the coherence of food and health and to further emphasize the educational idea as integral part of the kitchen, certain days that could focus on food and health would be a good addition to what the kitchen offers. Topics like "how to cook for people with intolerances (gluten, lactose) and allergies (nuts, flour..)" or tips "how to avoid and replace sugar, wheat flour etc.", "vegan cooking" or cooking with regards to religious principles could be interesting as well as general tips about healthy diet and reasonable food storage and preparation. (Alcove)


In order to use the facilities also at times of the day where there are less people coming by, it could be rented out to potential small food entrepreneurs, who could use the kitchen instead of investing in their own (or not being able to do it at all) one that meets all necessary standards and regulations (thanks to Jill Dovale and Pamela Steiner).

It would make sense to rent out the space on a contract basis to local food entrepreneurs in the early mornings where there might be less people using the kitchen anyways. 
Courses make sense in the evenings, students late mornings or early afternoons and there is still enough time for "open kitchen" hours in between. (Cara O)


To simplify the time management and scheduling of the facilities, an online platform should be created additionally for time slot sign ups (thanks to Miles Masci).

It would also help to show events, photos, recipes and info on all about the kitchen and food in general, like what is seasonal etc. Using platforms like Facebook location 'check-in's or Foursquare (thanks to Kimberly Fisher).

The platform should be designed interactive, so people can get involved and suggest new services they would like to be offered by the kitchen to ensure that it always meets the needs and wishes of its users.

credits image:

Concept builds
What actions would need to be taken to turn this idea into a reality?
A Public Kitchen requires the space including a garden (shop, restaurant) and the official authorisation to run a food related business. Skilled staff - the grandmas- is needed with experience in cooking and baking and with traditional food processing techniques like canning, juice pressing, smoking etc. An online platform should support the idea and ensure simple access for people and open up the possibility of additional services like newsletters, recipes etc. To spread the word about the Kitchen, an advertisement campaign would make sense, explaining the concept and advertising offers and events.
Who might make a good partner for this project?
Local farmers are a necessary partner for ensuring the connection of food production and consumer as well as for supplying products. Local supermarkets would make sense here as well to stress the aspect of sustainability in using their left overs. Schools, adult education centers and ministries of health would be a great partner to go into education but also to spread the word about the facility. Local gardening clubs could be a great addition. It would make sense to team up with local chefs and restaurants to ensure a rich offer of activities.
What suggestions would you have for potential sources of funding for the development of this project?
The project could be implemented in already existing structures like schools or adult education centers, but would also work as a stand alone business that finances itself by its offers and by an attached store and restaurant. This requires some investment in advance though. Ministries of Health and Education could help with funding as well as advertising the Kitchen.
Virtual team
Maia Smith, Tania Jiménez, Jill Dovale, James McBennett, Miles Masci


Join the conversation and post a comment.

sanchari mahapatra

December 09, 2011, 11:16AM
Sanchari Mahapatra
December 2011, 04.33 pm

Its a wonderful idea Veronika! In the age of fast commercialization I like your idea where there is a lot of personal involvement and experimentation. It's great platform for parents, grandparents and kids to bond and learn from each other or from other families. In today's busy world, getting people back to doing things with their own hands brings in a lot of freshness and personal touch!

Good luck with your endeavors!


James McBennett

June 06, 2011, 05:32AM
Worth a look, saw Lizzie present at TEDxOxbridge at weekend.


June 09, 2011, 00:32AM
Thanks for the link, James! I love the simplicity of the concept that still brings people together.

Srinivasan Sankaranarayanan

June 01, 2011, 14:52PM
Nice idea Veronika!

I like the simplicity of the concept. Very much realisable and replicable. It can be a place for people to meet up as well.

And i really like the concept of renting the space to small entrepreneurs. It is a win win situation for both the kitchen and the entrepreneurs. The kitchen can generate revenues and the entrepreneurs do not have to worry about sunk cost in infrastructure.

Good work!

Good luck with the challenge!



June 09, 2011, 00:29AM
Thank you, Srini! :)

michelle jackson

November 27, 2011, 19:35PM
As a member of a community garden in New York City, I can say that the idea of a communal kitchen for processing food has been a re-occurring theme of conversations over the growing seasons. I know that I'm not alone in supporting your idea of a Public Kitchen that builds community and has a potential for creating jobs.

Just in case you haven't seen's some information on a kitchen that started up this year in East Harlem:

Meena Kadri

May 25, 2011, 21:39PM
Great stuff Veronkia! I was part of the team that discussed your fab concept at the Ideas Festival in Brisbane last week. We were really excited about the opportunities here and had a blast imagining various programming features (Marmalade Mondays, Baking for Blokes, Foraging Fridays, etc) We especially liked your ideas about inter-generational exchange and could imagine sessions where kids take the floor and 'teach' their favourite dishes to friends a family. So much to love on this concept and I'm impressed to note your continuous builds during the refinement stage. Inspiringly iterative!


May 26, 2011, 07:39AM
I totally agree - I can't wait to see this happen not just in QLD but worldwide - let's get people back into the kitchen! Jerky Jueves anyone?


June 09, 2011, 00:30AM
Thank you Meena and Susan! I am glad people were inspired by the concept in Brisbane!


May 20, 2011, 01:24AM
A much loved at the Ideas Festival in Queensland! Areas discussed in our workshops that you might like to explore further – eliciting program ideas from the community as well, mash-up with a food entrepreneur incubator and neighbourhood food foraging treasure hunts. Bring on the builds!


May 24, 2011, 02:27AM
Thanks for the feedback, OpenIDEO. Good to hear that the Ideas Festival in Queensland brought up so many inspiring ideas! I will definitely include them in a concept update!


May 19, 2011, 02:35AM
This is an awesome idea, and it can be offered to an even larger community with a little expansion.

Currently, most local food movements are started by middle to upper-middle class groups, almost with a sense of elitism. This is probably not how they intend for the movement to come across, but telling people to eat a certain way is off-putting to the average eater. So what about the rest of the community?
Pop-up public kitchens could come weekly to various impoverished neighborhoods and improve accessibility to local food at an affordable rate. Profits coming in from the "mother kitchen" that would be located in a storefront, and would offer all of the classes and ideas suggested above and below would support the pop-up public kitchens. To help with the costs, the pop-ups could accept EBT (welfare), as well as cash. But the idea is to empower the community through allowing them access to good food and food education in an encouraging and positive way.

Cory Quach

May 16, 2011, 13:34PM
What a great way to get communities involved. I like to consider myself a well-educated consumer but often surprise myself on how little I know about the real nutritional value of foods. Emphasizing this could really help a lot of people. One other point I wanted to address is your strategy to have supermarkets and restaurants donate surplus foods. There is currently a new market phenomenon where near-expiration foods are being sold to intermediaries which are then sold at auction. What can be done to incentivize supermarkets to donate rather than sell the surplus? Also, for restaurants there are many laws that prevent the donation of perviously prepared foods. What can be done to circumvent these laws while maintaining the integrity of health regulations?


May 13, 2011, 09:25AM
Way to go on making the Shortlist on the Local Food Challenge! Selecting 20 concepts out of over 600 was a tough job and we're excited to have you move through to the Refinement Phase. You can get a low-down on how the phase works over on Field Notes:

Basically over the next 10 days we'd like you to further fine-tune your idea. You might explore opportunities and challenges to implementation, visualise further, expand on engagement strategies or connect various dots and details that would assist bringing your concept into fruition.

If you hit the Update This button on the right of your post, you'll see we've added 5 new fields to help you refine: Concept Builds, Actions, Project Partners, Funding Sources and Virtual Team. Check them out and feel free to keep updating your post throughout the phase – based on feedback and collaboration with fellow OpenIDEATORS and your own ideating goodness!

Amanda Rucker

May 08, 2011, 17:42PM
Very cool. Haven't read through all the great comments, but loving the additions I've seen on a few! The pop-up kitchen sounds great, great way to take this idea to more areas!


May 11, 2011, 07:17AM


May 08, 2011, 14:43PM
Thank you all for your thoughts and comments! It is so inspiring where the discussions led us on this great platform! I will update the concept soon and include your builds!
In the meanwhile, keep building! :)

Pete C

May 08, 2011, 13:06PM
The kitchens could be located within, or next to, established public spaces. Connecting the kitchens with existing locations associated with heath and education would exponentially increase the footfall, institutional support/branding, and local relevance.

Loose inspiration:
Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital - Food Revolution - Demonstration Kitchen


May 08, 2011, 14:38PM
I had rather a hands on kitchen in mind, where everyone can try out and touch! But I definitely agree on the part of connecting kitchens with existing local institutions. We spoke about teaming up with local farmers to promote not only cooking your food yourself but also emphasizing the connection between production and processing!


May 19, 2011, 02:43AM
I like the idea of focusing on health. How about certain days that could focus on certain intolerances to foods, such as gluten or lactose?

Pete C

May 19, 2011, 12:28PM
Veronika: Yes, hands on is a must! Anything else, you might as well watch on TV. Speaking of TV and connecting to farmers' production/processing, you remind me of a hands-on programme by BBC TV a few years ago. The first series of "Kill It Cook It Eat It" was a abattoir-in-a-studio setting. Later they took learners on location. Both times members of the public got involved in the unskilled tasks. Food for thought regarding involvement in the other tasks though?

Alcove: Themes! That would keep a wide variety of people busy and interested. Vegan morning? Man's red meat night?

American remake from Jan which I can't vet:


May 24, 2011, 02:53AM
Alcove, I love this idea and I just included it in my update! Thanks!
I think there are even more topics of interest, for example how to avoid or replace special unhealthy ingredients like sugar and wheat flour or how to cook for people with allergies.


May 24, 2011, 03:20AM
Pete, the videos are great (I could not open the last one though). I did not know about "Kill it, Cook it, Eat it" before but I think it is a fantastic show.
I just updated my concept and included the idea of trips to food production sites and the involvement of consumers. Super builds, thanks!

Jakob Trischler

May 05, 2011, 06:51AM
Awesome concept Veronika! :) Here at the Gold Coast, the City Council provides BBQ-places for everyone close to the beaches and in parks. The cooktops are cleaned and checked everyday so that users don't need to care about the cleaning. This is also to ensure that it all meets with the hygienic standards.

So why not using public kitchens as well with volunteers or professionals helping and giving tips. I think there would be many people who would like to use these public kitchens for socialising and knowledge exchange. I found a nice concept from a Service Design Challenge in Melbourne which explains why socialising and knowledge exchange are becoming not only easier but also more and more important in the todays communities:


May 08, 2011, 14:41PM
Thanks Jakob, there should be definitely people around at the kitchen, I called them grandmas in my concept. They maintain the facilities but also share their experience, connect people etc. I agree that a kitchen should also take advantage of the social hub it always will be!
Thanks for the nice link as well!

Audrey Barnes

May 03, 2011, 01:47AM
This is a great concept! ♥ This could be the headquarters for my mobile version and become a great way to get your "grandmas" out to a larger audience or (if they have a hard time getting out) bring it too them to share with their own communities! Grannies on wheels!!

Krassimira Iordanova

April 28, 2011, 15:51PM
I like the community sense of this concept! It reminds me of the free kitchens (langar) in the gurudwaras, in India, where everyone can go and have a freshly cooked lunch for free. All the food is prepared by volunteers and served on every day of the year. Recent reports say some of the largest Sikh community dining halls in Delhi prepare between 50,000 and 70,000 meals per day.


April 30, 2011, 03:16AM
Krassimira, you reminding me of an experience I had in India some time ago. I visited a dining hall of a Sikh community with a friend and I was fascinated by this kind of welfare system. Thanks for the inspiration!

Pamela Steiner

April 26, 2011, 17:17PM
I haven't read thru all the comments yet, but I really like this idea, especially for the opportunity it could have to address laws that discourage at-home/not pro bakers and cooks from making a living thru what they make.

See this article on the issue in Texas:

You have to have a fully certified kitchen, separate from a living space to be able to legally sell and distribute food...not realistic at all for home-cooks. This idea could be a great bridge for this issue and existing laws....


April 30, 2011, 03:02AM
Pamela, thanks for your thoughts on the concept. The article is superinteresting and points out the important issue of "pirate cupcake bakers" (I love this expression!). Since the kitchen would have to finance itself, renting out the space as a fully certified kitchen would be be definitely a good service to offer!

James McBennett

April 25, 2011, 03:48AM
Samples of this concept already exist today, some have worked, some have failed. I would say failure generally comes from a lack of TLC.

1. Historical accounts throughout the world show food to be a communal activity. e.g. The "Fulacht Fia" in Celtic history in Ireland/Scotland/England/Wales throughout the bronze age.
2. Under various communist regimes, communal kitchens were implemented, Russia and china being examples.
3. Residential colleges and student halls have communal kitchens, uncared for properly, they smell, become dirty fast, with less people using them. In other buildings, they thrive accomplishing your idea above.
4. In Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, he forms "Jamie's Kitchen" renamed "Hungtington's Kitchen" at the end of the show.

I would question, is this a "public kitchen" used by absolutely anybody who walks through it doors, much alike a McDonalds where everybody get's their food, sits down, eats and leaves talking only to those who came in with...... or a "community kitchen" used by a local community, regulars crowd. In Jamie Oliver's kitchen above, it's first name was a community built around the fans of Jamie, and it's change in name was a community built around Huntington as Jamie prepared to leave the area.

Maia Smith

April 25, 2011, 05:15AM
Here's a link for "Rental Kitchens" in the US. This isn't exactly the same thing, but it's certainly a growing trend to share cooking space and equipment. I'm also not sure if similar sites/businesses exist in other countries.

Dianna Kane

April 27, 2011, 13:58PM
This concept jumped out at me as something I wish I had, but I agree with James. There should be some sort of membership agreement to limit the number of users and ensure that proper care of the kitchen takes place. It would be important to have enough of these kitchens spread around so that individual communities can really take ownership and pride in theirs, without them turning into "eat and run" McDonald's. Great concept, though!


April 30, 2011, 03:14AM
This concept is definitely based on a system that makes sure it is not going towards a McDonalds kind of thing! First, you would have to pay for using it and there is always a person, called "grandma" in the description above, that has an eye on everything. She is there to help and to explain and to support, but also to monitor the whole space.

I am not sure if a membership system would work though, as I think it is really important to keep it accessible for someone who just wants to try out canning or pressing juice once. I think this is what awakes curiosity and encourages people to try out something new. If you have to become a member, this is counterproductive I think. Maybe it would be best to offer membership with certain bonuses and incentives (cheaper price, some kind of receipe newsletter...) but to also keep it open to people who do not want to use it regularly. Again, I think it would be manageable to keep it clean etc. since there is always staff that has an eye on everything!

Cara O'Shell

May 22, 2011, 16:48PM
It seems like, given the variety of functions that you want the kitchen to serve, there should be a bit of structure in the scheduling. i.e. open kitchen from 3-7pm, classes from 7-9pm, student groups and field trips in the mornings, etc. Rather than limiting the spontaneity of people who want to come on a whim, I think it will make them feel comfortable to know they will be expected.

Also, maybe you want to think about segmenting the market a bit. So there are drop in rates and membership rates. This provides an incentive for community-building and consistent use of the kitchen, but doesn't preclude anyone from coming.


May 24, 2011, 02:17AM
James, thank you for the links, I really like the People´s Supermarket, it is a fantastic concept! The TED talk as well is really interesting and inspiring, thanks for that! There are definitely some aspects we could also use for the Public Kitchen!


May 24, 2011, 02:26AM
Cara, I totally agree on that. We definitely need a structured schedule for the kitchen. I was thinking, that it would make sense to rent out the space on a contract basis to local food entrepreneurs in the early mornings where there might be less people using the kitchen anyways.
The courses make sense in the evenings, students late mornings or early afternoons and there is still enough time for "open kitchen" hours in between.
As Miles suggested it would be great to have an online platform where you can access that schedule and get an overview of the offers, courses and prices in general.

Segmenting the market is definitely necessary as people should be encouraged to get a subscription! Thanks!

Adele Peters

April 24, 2011, 23:17PM
Great idea. I also like the idea of letting users of the kitchen volunteer to teach each other classes- how to pickle, bake bread, etc.


April 25, 2011, 00:55AM
thanks :)

Prachi Mishra

April 24, 2011, 05:26AM
Indeed! Grandmas are a store house of information. Barely a day goes by when I don't hear a new anecdote or age old solution on my trips back home to India. This can be so much more personal and inspiring than a book of guidelines. Though perhaps one can build further or what commonalities can bring these people together, be it location or culture or trajectories....


April 25, 2011, 00:55AM
prachi, this is so true. grandmas are a pool of information and inspiration I find aswell :)

Charles McGhee Hassrick

April 22, 2011, 16:43PM
This is a wonderful idea. Much like the "public" hacker spaces that have cropped up around the country, a public kitchen could allow locals access to tools, supplies, specialists, lessons, forums and a network of others interested in cooking. The kitchen could host public cooking nights, competitions, and other events to draw people in, not that the smell of cooking food would attract people like a street corner bakery.

There may be opportunity to combine the public kitchen concept with for-profit ventures like restaurants and catering companies, where everybody profits. Here in Chicago there is an elementary school that collaboratively hosts a successful catering business in their building. The business teaches cooking classes to students at the school as part of their agreement, and runs its catering from the basement.

Also, if these "public kitchens" were located in public spaces like schools, community centers, parks, etc., and co-located with community gardens and urban farms in low-income neighborhoods, all the better. What if your "public kitchen" was run out of shipping containers that could be opportunistically placed on vacant land, parks, etc. as need and demand for them shifted and grew. More permanent facilities could replace the containers over time for communities that really engaged in the idea.


April 23, 2011, 08:47AM
I love the idea of a pop up kitchen! The original inspiration of those gardening clubs where Ilive is kind of pop up as well - you can only go there to press juice from your apples during apple picking season. Thanks, Charles!

Erin Gibbons

May 06, 2011, 22:16PM
I LOVE the idea of a shipping container turned kitchen. Lots of Architecture students do creative mobile housing solutions with shipping containers and I think you could make an inviting space for a community to come together to cook in one.


May 08, 2011, 14:34PM
I absolutely agree!

Vincent Cheng

April 22, 2011, 16:26PM
Hi Veronika. Great job with this concept. I think I skimmed it over briefly the 1st time and didn't understand it fully (it's so much more than just a "Public Kitchen"!). Anyways, just thought you all would be interested in this related article that profiles various "Community Supported Kitchens":


April 23, 2011, 08:45AM
Thanks for the article, Vincent, it perfectly sums up so many ways to go with this idea! I like as well that it shows different possibilities a public kitchen can feel like which I think is superimportant aspect!

Nicola De Franceschi

April 21, 2011, 10:16AM
Having someone who knows the tricks is a very good point, since lot of the knowledge is getting lost and one the reasons for not cooking at home is that people don't know where to start from. In my concept I suggest something similar, trasnsforming together, where the public kitchen is part of a project that tries to favour a direct contact with the farmer and an involvment in the growing activity. I think that the integration of the two concepts could give great results.


April 21, 2011, 23:41PM
nicola, thanks for commenting! did you see my concept ? It has a lot in common with your personal farmer idea! let me know what you think!

Maia Smith

April 21, 2011, 07:25AM
I love this idea!

In terms of connecting people with producers - you could also connect with farms that have apple picking (or strawberries or pumpkins or whatever's in season) or corporations that have rooftop gardens.

I bet community groups or businesses would love to have events where people go as a group pick food, come to the communal kitchen for some fresh juice, and then perhaps donate the pickled or canned items to local food shelters (with some goodies to take home of course!).

Have you thought of how much people will pay for the kitchen and what it would cost to keep it operational? There seem to be lots of options for revenue (cooking classes, a small restaurant or store, corporate/group events) in addition to the fee for using the kitchen.

Nicola De Franceschi

April 21, 2011, 09:13AM
Maia, the idea of the small restaurant is very interesting and could show how many appetizing recipes it's possible to prepare with local seasonal food.


April 21, 2011, 23:50PM
Maia, interesting points you are mentioning here! I love the idea of organising events like going apple picking. It is a great way of offering the "producer experience" to those, who haven´t got the chance otherwise. The aspect of donating fits very well.

I think the organisational part has to be worked out, that´s right. I think it would not be too hard to find financial opportunities though, as the use of the kitchen would cost a little and the rest could be done by classes and events - there are already so many great builds about that below!
I like the idea of a small restaurant and a shop attached a lot! First, it could help to use the space in times with less people using it and it would help spreading the word about the facility as well. Maybe you buy/eat something there and really liked it, so you come back soon and try to cook it with the help of the grandmas!

Maia Smith

April 22, 2011, 07:32AM
Such a great idea! Anybody want to start a communal kitchen?? :)

I was also inspired by the post on meat - the kitchen could also perhaps bring in Grandpas - butchers or hunters that show how to cure/store meat in acquired in bulk.

Joy Prins

April 20, 2011, 20:55PM
I like the way you think, Veronika!


April 21, 2011, 23:38PM
thanks, joy! :)

Kimberly Fisher

April 20, 2011, 15:13PM
Over time, this could also have an online presence, showing events, photos, recipes, info on what's seasonal, ideas on where to buy large amounts of tomatoes to make tomato sauce for instance.

It would tie in well with facebook location 'check-in' or foursquare.

Much like sewing cafes have become fashionable, there is a MAJOR market for a place where people can go to learn these skills! I look forward to going myself :)


April 21, 2011, 23:36PM
the comparison to sewing cafés works perfect. I think you are definitely right about this trend that is going on and I agree on the webpage idea, it absolutely has to be present in platforms online. I love the foursquare idea!!

Miles Masci

April 19, 2011, 18:59PM
When I get too much of something (produce, fruit, leftovers in fridge) and need to process it, where to I go? Oh, I know! I'll go to the public kitchen. Great thought, I love it. I foresee online time slot signups and "grandma's" employed there. Then there's always clean-up! Definitely workable. BOOM


April 21, 2011, 23:32PM
thanks, miles!

Kat Caverly

April 19, 2011, 18:38PM
What a lovely idea. I think this would be most welcome in inner cities, space in public buildings (schools maybe).


April 21, 2011, 23:33PM
thanks, kat. I was also thinking about inner cities and I like the idea of schools you bringing in here.

peter matzen

April 19, 2011, 09:35AM
share and get something in return. It is nice to be asked for help - so lets bring in people with knowledge - the old guys....
I think it is also an idea of dealing with foodwaste! maybe we can get the supermarket to join the concept, so they can bring in their food that they are throwing out. coool


April 19, 2011, 12:16PM
the exchange of knowledge and get together of people is definitely a main point of my concept! Teaming up with supermarkets and their leftovers could definitely make sense, maybe in one of those courses we discussed about earlier. thanks!

Josh Schachter

April 19, 2011, 04:11AM
I totally agree, the need for public kitchens in Tucson is one of the main things holding back mobile food vendors who need access to a commercially approved kitchen.


April 19, 2011, 12:16PM
thanks! :)

Kat Caverly

April 19, 2011, 18:39PM
Josh, I love this… a fleet of mobile vendors! Maybe the kitchen could be part of urban gardens.

Luisa Acevedo

April 18, 2011, 23:17PM
I like this idea. I think having a kitchen where you can learn how to tranform your food is great. But since these days are hectic you can also have the option to choose local ingredients, choose the recipe (transformation) you want for them and it pick up later or ask them to send it as a delivery. Not all the times you have time to make it by your own but you still want to eat healthy and responsible food


April 19, 2011, 02:19AM
Luisa, thanks! To me, this kitchen ist reallly a place, where you go when you have time and when you are curious to try out a new food processing technique or maybe when you want to "cook a present" for someone. Or maybe you go there with friends and family. I think you are definitely right that a public kitchen cannot serve all needs and situations. In case you don´t have the time, you just wouldn´t go there, or maybe try out something like this :

Anne Ditmeyer

April 17, 2011, 12:46PM
I love this idea. In France, despite being known for food, kitchens are notoriously small. Many students especially live in small "chambres de bonnes" with just hot plates, and a toaster oven (if they are lucky) - it'd be great to have a central place were people could go, interact and cook. Or a shared kitchen, like ZIPCAR share, but for food! . . . Other friends in Paris are working to open a cookie business, but health codes make finding a space they can use extremely difficult. Apparently in the US there are more opportunities for communal/rental kitchen spaces.

Johan Löfström

April 17, 2011, 13:23PM
yes, but small kitchens (and limited resources) also inspires many people to be innovative to come up with smarter solutions to cook, like in my suggested concept:


April 17, 2011, 13:46PM
I lived in Paris for a while and I know very well about this issue. Johan is right, it inspired us to the wildest meals and also just picnics because we did not want to deal with it. I guess this just what you want in the very moment, so I guess it could be fun for people with small kitchens either. Still, I think it would not be a replacement, but it could definitely be rented out in the very early mornings for example... why not?! I might be a way to help to finance it, so it stays affordable to everyone (as the social aspect also requires!).


April 17, 2011, 12:14PM
Wouldn't it be great if the kitchen also hosted special events for you to bring your grandmother to cook together? Cooking has such ties to family for many people - an opportunity to both connect across generations and also discuss food issues as well/


April 17, 2011, 13:38PM
Casson, thanks for your thoughts. I am not sure if it really needs events to encourage people to bring their friends or family, but I think this idea could be integrated in the whole advertisement!

Bernise Ang

April 15, 2011, 18:45PM
I really like your concept Veronika - in particular the social aspect! I think this is particularly important because it's the social interactions that create engagement among individuals - and within a community.

Building off Peter's comment, perhaps this social element could be put to even fuller use in bringing in the production element, somehow?


April 17, 2011, 13:36PM
Thanks, Bernise! I absolutely agree, that it would be nice to integrate the production element to some extend. I think this is dependent on the location though since production at the site mostly requires a lot of space. But I could very well imagine the possibility of buying local produce there, or even the possibility to order it. Maybe you don´t have fruit trees in your garden, but you can order them there and process it for canning, marmelade, juice etc.

Caitlin Le Grand

April 13, 2011, 00:57AM
I like your idea - reminds me of an article I read in the NYT a while ago ( My only concern would be sustainability, especially if you plan on staffing "grandmas" to help and teach, and renting the space in the first place. Seems like it might be a capital-intensive start up. However, I do really like the idea of people getting together to exchange hands on learning.


April 13, 2011, 09:19AM
Great point you´re bringing in. As my original inspiration came from a local gardening club that provides space and equipment to press your own apples to juice, I was thinking about this kind of organisation. I think it is necessary that someone is responsible and that there is someone you can ask when using rather uncommon equipment like juice presses etc. By offering special courses or even subscriptions, I think there is a way of financing it, although you are right, there is capital to invest ahead.
Thanks for the link to the NYT article, I love it!

Sarah Adams

April 12, 2011, 12:29PM
I agree with all the great comments on this idea! Well done, Veronika! I think a communal kitchen with special equipment could go a long way towards connecting people with their food. Either rented per use, or as Ronan says, a subscription. I am an overseas student and am renting my townhouse. I don't have access to special equipment or enough kitchen capacity. Although I'd like to bring home a big quantity of fruit or vegetables from my local farmer's market and make my own stuff, it's a challenge. When we owned our house, we had an apple tree which was quite productive. Even though I could buy my own canning equipment, doing all the work myself was daunting. In the old days, you did canning and preserving as a family or as a group. The social aspect is so important! I was watching the show "Italian Food Safari" and they showed Australian-Italian families getting together to make the annual supply of their special sauce from fresh local Roma tomatoes. This sauce is an important and well-loved ingredient in many Italian dishes. But they were commenting that not many young people knew how to make the sauce anymore. The social+intergenerational aspect of this concept are really important!


April 13, 2011, 09:11AM
Thanks, Sarah! I love the story of the Italian tomatoe sauce. It is exactly was I was thinking of concerning the loss of knowledge (the same applies for canning).


April 12, 2011, 10:51AM
Jill, thanks for your thoughts and the links! The story about New Mexico is very convincing, I actually thought rather in a developed context so far, so thanks for opening my mind!
I also agree on the after school program. It is definitely a great opportunity to raise awareness for healthy food with schoolkids!

Jill Dovale

April 12, 2011, 07:53AM
Also, beyond being a community center and foodie/food entrepreneur incubator, this kitchen could be so valuable to folks lacking kitchen facilities. For people in impoverished areas, there's the issue of access to fresh foods, and then there's the issue of actually having the tools, knowledge, and incentive to cook fresh foods.

In the high-poverty community in rural New Mexico where I used to live and work, many of my students lived in motels for good portions of the year, and some of my students lived in traditional Navajo dwellings, which lack both cooking facilities and running water and electricity. Needless to say, many of my students' families turned to fast or packaged foods.

A public kitchen would at least give people with limited resources more options.

I also envision the public kitchen as a space for an after school program. More experienced cooks could volunteer their time to teach latchkey kids how to prepare a fresh, after school snack. Kids get exposure to fresh food, acquire life skills, and gain the opportunity to meet new people in a new context.

Jill Dovale

April 12, 2011, 07:26AM
Love the idea, Veronika.

The high cost of renting a commercial kitchen is a huge barrier for many potential food entrepreneurs. La Cocina in San Francisco is doing interesting things with the concept of a shared kitchen. Check it out:

Re: add-ons that could boost participation: 18 Reasons in San Francisco has great programming. Check it out:


April 08, 2011, 22:45PM
Thanks everyone, so much great input and ideas! It is great to see the concept growing and there are so many inspiring builds and comments!

Johan, the idea of saving energy is a good point!

Nancy, I was also thinking about the effect of encouraging people to try new recipes etc. I think sometimes it´s enough to just observe your neighbour preparing something you´d never thought of... For example, I watched my sister the other day preparing chocolate spread. I never thought you could make it yourself!

Tania, I love the social side that you described! If there is already a public kitchen, why not use it for special courses etc.. I will include this in an update of the concept, thanks!

Peter, thanks for mentioning your doubts on how this connects producer and consumer. Originally, I was thinking about a kitchen, that provides more extraordinary equipment like juice presses etc. It was about enabling people to produce more of their own food and to see how juice is actually made... I think it is not only necessary to link producer and consumer, but as well to raise awareness of how we treat and process food. I think this is a vital part of raising awareness for good food and the interest in where it comes from in the first place.
I absolutely agree though, that looking into how much can be prepared and grown in the same place would make sense! I could see a little garden in front of it, where you can also learn how to gro tomatoes on you balcony...

Susan, thanks for the link! I really like the project and I think there are many lessons to learn here!

Katie, thanks for sharing your memories! That sound perfectly like what I was thinking of! Sharing the knowledge that seems to disappear and encouraging people to try to prepare their own food!!

Rachel, the idea of inviting professionals is a great idea, especially for getting more people to participate!

Anne, thanks for sharing the story of the museum! I love the story and especially the "golden oldies! :) I also love the idea of connecting generations here!

Lorenn, thanks for the link! The idea of "crowdsourcing your supper" sounds great, I would love to try that out!

Ronan, Kate, Sina, Meena and Sarah: thanks! :)


April 07, 2011, 11:41AM
I like the idea of a space where people are comfortable enough to go to
a) use communal equipment
b) learn/get advice on how to cook

Essentially, the kitchen is a community-building mechanism that can then be leveraged for a whole host of "add-ons".

Some of these add-ons have already been discussed such as involving local chefs in tutorials etc. Another idea could be involving the traditional "too busy to cook" category of people through the idea of crowd-sourcing your dinner. By this I mean use the kitchen as a tool/space to entice people to form groups that take turns in cooking/connecting/learning about food and share their food (and experiences) with others! Check this out:


April 07, 2011, 11:41AM
I like the idea of a space where people are comfortable enough to go to
a) use communal equipment
b) learn/get advice on how to cook

Essentially, the kitchen is a community-building mechanism that can then be leveraged for a whole host of "add-ons".

Some of these add-ons have already been discussed such as involving local chefs in tutorials etc. Another idea could be involving the traditional "too busy to cook" category of people through the idea of crowd-sourcing your dinner. By this I mean use the kitchen as a tool/space to entice people to form groups that take turns in cooking/connecting/learning about food and share their food (and experiences) with others! Check this out:

Anne Kjaer Riechert

April 07, 2011, 07:12AM
What a wonderful idea. I know musums in Denmark that does something quite similar. According to the season, they also get pensioneers to come and help out. For instance in September you can bring 20 kilos of your own apples and then the "Golden Oldies" help you make home made apple juice, for you to bring home.
In this way the museum secure a pass-over of traditional knowledge eg. how to preserve fruits and vegetables.

Rachel Greenwald

April 06, 2011, 20:32PM
Excellent concept! I hear so many people claim they "can't cook", when in reality they're often just intimidated by kitchenware or simply don't like cooking on their own. The community kitchen would address these issues by providing a stocked, social and unintimidating environment in which people can come learn and do!

Reminds me a bit of Jamie Oliver's "food revolution kitchens" that he's trying to roll out in several US cities:

Another idea for you -- might be cool if you could get local chefs to come and do open tutorials as well!

Sarah Fathallah

April 06, 2011, 08:43AM
Great concept Veronika! And love the builds so far as well. I like Tania's exchanging meals idea too!

Katie Brennan

April 06, 2011, 08:41AM
High five Veronika, this is awesome. This might get my mom out of her canning station in her basement corner and out teaching her craft to others! She canned vegetables we grew in our victory garden, and my brothers and I grew up on her homemade bread and canned grape juice. These are great memories and taught us more than we realized at the time about food.

This business has an interesting community model: . Families gather in a commercial kitchen to prepare several fresh meals for storage in their freezer at home. The idea is that these meals are more handy and healthy than tempty takeout. Like pizza. I'm hungry.

Liking the picture you chose too.


April 06, 2011, 05:57AM
Veronika, check out Three Stone Hearth
Focuses on communities learning and sourcing from each other. :)

"Three Stone Hearth is pioneering a new business model: a community-supported, worker-owned cooperative, and a teaching kitchen all in one. Our work is grounded in shared values of sustainability, community, and health. Inspired by diverse cuisines, our weekly menus are prepared using the nourishing traditions approach to ensure maximum digestibility and nutrient absorption. Ordering from us helps reduce your carbon footprint. We pack our foods in re-usable glass containers, compost waste, and purchase from local farms."

Meena Kadri

April 06, 2011, 03:05AM
So much good stuff going on here as noted below. Also brings to mind the oft quoted question that speaks to the heart of Collaborative Consumption... "why does just about everyone on many suburban streets own a lawn mower?"

Sina Mossayeb

April 06, 2011, 02:18AM
i really like this for two reasons: it hits the objective of the challenge, and brings people together around food as a human experience. it's not just about connecting production and consumption. it's about connecting human beings with one another around something that is central to their existence. well done!

Tania Jiménez

April 06, 2011, 01:13AM
It could be nice to have a public kitchen with its own little garden to grow somme veggies.

Peter Borenstein

April 06, 2011, 01:09AM
I really like this idea too and Michael Pollan wrote a great article last year about communities in Italy that have communal hearths that stay lit all day and night; people bring their unbaked bread, their pizza dough and whatever else they might fire in the hearth and end up talking, eating and sharing stories too. Really inspiring -

I wonder how this will bring the production aspect closer though - people are obviously bringing the ingredients to the communal kitchen but where are the ingredients coming from? How much can be grown, prepared and cooked in the same place?

Tania Jiménez

April 06, 2011, 00:23AM
I love the idea of community cooking!

If we push this concept a little further, there could be also other activities. For example, a group of 5 persons cook together, but each person is responsible of a recipe and they have to prepare the equivalent of 10 portions. At the end, everybody exchange their meals, like that every person will have 2 portions of five different meals: pea soup, tomato soup, salmon with veggies, risotto, etc. People can freeze this food for the week. Is a nice way of cooking just once a week, sharing good time with friends and having dinner ready!

Nancy Smith

April 05, 2011, 23:31PM
This is a great idea! The social aspect seems really essential, not only because you would encounter people who have cooking skills that you don't have, but also because it's hard to motivate yourself to cook if you live alone. Food is such a simple way to bring people together (everyone eats!) and I think the support of other people would be a great motivating factor for inspiring folks to try more complex things that they might not want to attempt on their own.

kate mcneely

April 05, 2011, 21:31PM
This would also be great to partner with 3D food --

As a place for people to go and learn how to cook their 3D recipe boxes.

kate mcneely

April 05, 2011, 21:31PM
This would also be great to partner with 3D food --

As a place for people to go and learn how to cook their 3D recipe boxes.

Ronan Harrington

April 05, 2011, 18:08PM
I need this in my life! I can imagine a subscription service where office workers in big cities pay a subscription fee to bring their food and make it in a fully equipped kitchen.

Johan Löfström

April 05, 2011, 17:04PM
Great idea!!! it enables people that cannot afford to buy specialized equipment and have potential to make some energy savings from cooking together more effectively (from knowing the tricks, using an oven that is already pre-heated by someone elses food, and by knowing the exact time and temperature needed)


April 05, 2011, 14:07PM
Thanks, Joanna! :)


April 05, 2011, 13:56PM
Hey Veronika, I really like the inter-generational quality of this concept! Also, the photo is awesome.


April 05, 2011, 13:35PM
Thank you for this observation, Arjan! I didn´t notice it, but it´s true. I think it is easier for people to relate to it that way and I am often inspired by those personal stories that mostly take place within your most inner social circle.

Arjan Tupan

April 05, 2011, 12:05PM
I like the way you make your concepts family things. First you're talking about godfathers, now grandma's. That is very powerful. Great!
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