About Community Kitchens
What are Community Kitchens?
Community Kitchens (also called cooking groups) are groups of people of all ages and backgrounds that get together on a regular basis to prepare (and often share) meals, nurture connections, and learn from one other about cooking, preserving, finding affordable ingredients, and all the tips and tricks of fitting cooking into busy lives. Community Kitchens can be hosted by faith organizations, schools, community and senior centers, businesses and nonprofits. Each Community Kitchen is different and is designed by the participants to meet the needs of their particular community. Our program is modeled on successful Community Kitchen movements in Seattle, Canada, and Latin America. All Community Kitchens start with the desire to cook together and leaders willing to help make the kitchen grow.
Why Community Kitchens?
Community Kitchens are a way of stretching food dollars, strengthening community ties and fostering resource and skill sharing. Our communities are most healthy when we have strong social ties and access to an abundant food system. In Community Kitchens we come together to preserve, prepare, and cook our food and share rich social connections that enhance our well-being. We exchange resources, tips, experiences, celebrations, languages, traditions, skills, local knowledge, and—best of all—friendship and food! Food is a wonderful bridge across cultures and other differences. Learn about the impacts of community kitchens from former Advisory Board member, Kala Mayer, RN.
What’s the role of Kitchen Commons?
Kitchen Commons supports the development of Community Kitchens and collaborates with leaders to organize, grow, connect, and sustain a diverse network of kitchens. We work to meet evolving needs in diverse communities by helping members of those communities achieve their unique goals. We do this by:
- Connecting Kitchen Leaders with resources and identifying kitchen spaces.
- Creating opportunities to network, share ideas, explore, collaborate, and celebrate our local food system.
- Advocating for the development of community kitchen spaces so that everyone has access to one in their neighborhood, and policies that will make it easier to use them to their fullest.
Are you a contact for an organization with a kitchen that could be available to host Community Kitchens? Register Your Kitchen.
People willing to help start and sustain Community Kitchens are known as “Kitchen Leaders.” Leaders’ roles vary based on the skills and experience each person brings. Kitchen Commons supports Kitchen Leaders in putting ideas into action. We offer training, support, handbooks and templates, as well as opportunities for leaders to network and build skills.
Our next Kitchen Leadership Training will take place in Fall 2016. We also host regular skill-shares and networking events that bring current and aspiring Kitchen Leaders together to learn from one another. Keep an eye on the Events Calendar and sign up for our Newsletter to get word about the details when they are available. Visit our Resource Page to learn more about starting a Community Kitchen.
Join a Community Kitchen
Interested in participating in a Community Kitchen? Kitchen Commons currently supports four Community Kitchens that meet monthly:
Hollywood Accessible Community Kitchen (“Hob Nob”) is for adults with developmental disabilities, their care providers, and friends. This group meets on the third Friday of the month at the Hollywood Senior Center, 1820 NE 40th Avenue, Portland. This group focuses on accessible cooking, food empowerment, and social interaction. There is a $5 fee for each participant to cover costs and RSVP is required. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Cully Community Kitchen/Cocina Comunitaria de Cully is a bilingual (Spanish/English) group that meets on third Wednesdays at Luther Memorial, 4800 NE 72nd Ave. Join us to cook and share a meal together! All are welcome! Venga para cocinar y cenar juntos! Todos son bienvenidos! More information/mas informacion: email@example.com
North Portland Community Kitchen is a project in partnership with Village Gardens. Groups are currently meeting and cooking in both the New Columbia community (contact Rebecca, firstname.lastname@example.org) and at Cathedral Gardens in St. John’s (contact email@example.com).
Check our Events Calendar to confirm dates, times, and locations and to RSVP for a community kitchen.
What to expect:
Everyone is both a learner and a teacher in the Community Kitchen. When you arrive be ready to wash your hands and dive into cooking! Typically, you can expect to get acquainted with the group, work in small teams to cook, sit down to share a meal together, divide food into portions for people to take home, discuss what to cook next time, and clean up. A leader or facilitator will help move the cooking along, but each participant is welcome to contribute as they are able. It is best to RSVP to the kitchen leader by a few days ahead of time so that the recipe planner and grocery shopper knows how many servings to plan for. Please let the leader know if you have any food restrictions and how many people will attend.
Want to start your own Community Kitchen? Learn more here.
We believe that Community Kitchens can be a powerful tool for building food justice. By bringing people out of isolation and into shared power and abundance we are shifting our local food system to one of connection and empowerment. We are activating communities through cooking and conversations, and as more people join together at the table our experiences, ideas, and power grow! We actively use models of popular education, asset-based community development, and shared leadership to build capacity and work towards a more just food system. In 2015, with support from the MRG Foundation, we began our series of food justice Community Kitchens where leaders come together to brainstorm recipes for food justice and cook them up! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be part of this project.