Well, it started when a few of us were sitting around a kitchen table talking about the Brixton People’s Kitchen in January, the depths of a typical English winter. I think we were eating lasagne (these kinds of food-related details seem kind of important, for some reason). Then someone said: ‘Why don’t we make a mobile kitchen?’
We’d lost count of the times someone had asked us whether we could hold a kitchen where they were, and had already tried our hand on the road in a few places, including Windrush Square (Feeding the 1000) and the Healthy Living Club. However, what we really wanted was to bring our kitchen with us to hold events in a bigger range of venues all over Brixton and get even more people interested in the events. So, we started looking at other mobile kitchens.
An award-winning mobile kitchen by Austrian designers Anna Rosinke and Maciej Chmara
The Pedaller’s Kitchen – a kitchen trailer with a rocket stove and an evaporation fridge
We came across some really great, inspiring ideas. Still, we wanted to be able to travel farther than a hand-cart or pulled trailer could take us: bicycle-powered kitchens were the obvious next step.
Veggie Velo – from Melbourne, Australia
The Chai Cycle – built by Daniel Marmot, Pooja Agrawal and Cycooldelic
As we found out more, it started to look like we might be able to make one of our own. With funding and support from Nesta and the Cabinet Office behind us, we got to work creating something that would work for us in Brixton.
We didn’t know much about building a mobile kitchen, but now we had the idea offers of help started to come in from a whole load of generous people. Posters on bike forums offered to donate parts; the Remakery (a workshop and community co-working space) in north Brixton offered ideas and gave us links; and then we found out about Per and Malte. From their Berlin-based Garten Studio, they’ve built mobile kitchens all round the world from New York to Istanbul.
Not only did our ideas about sharing food and visiting places match up perfectly, but they also made a great-looking mobile kitchen. We emailed them simply asking for a few tips. Imagine how pleased we were when they replied suggesting that they come to London for a week to help us build it! Offers like this are what the Brixton People’s Kitchen is all about – sharing skills and ideas to get people together. They’ll be landing in Brixton in 8 days, and we can’t wait.
Here’s one of their early sketches.
The next step was finding parts – and the next post will explain how we did it.
We’ll be holding workshops to make the bike in the Remakery from 23 April to 27 April. Would you like to join us? We can use all kinds of help, from painting and odd jobs to anything else that you can think of. Email Tom on firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to know more.