A Community Supported Kitchen: Good for the Body and Soul
Eating better has come a long way in the past few years. First we enjoyed organic produce from the local supermarket, then neighborhood farmer’s markets became common installments on the weekends followed by the increasing popularity of community sponsored agriculture (CSA) in which we could enjoy produce straight from our favorite farm. Now we can add another development to this eating well movement: Community Supported Kitchens (CSK).
In the same local, natural focus as the farmer’s markets and CSA the community supported kitchens are a membership-based collaborative dinner project. As a member you will split the overall ingredient costs with other members, plus share a portion of the work in creating the meals. On any given night, you might find yourself cooking, serving or cleaning up. Think gourmet, members-only soup kitchen for health conscious gourmands. Sound like a lot to handle on top of your other responsibilities? No worries, in general members only need to commit to one or two nights a month, depending on the size of the CSK you join.
The benefits of turning to a CSK instead of the latest posh restaurant are many. Namely, it’s fun. Cooking and cleaning with a group is easy and social. Not only do the fresh, healthy ingredients guarantee a great gastronomical experience, but the innate community aspect of the CSK ensures that you’ll meet new people, network with an expanded social circle and even learn new things in the process. You won’t get that at a reservations-only eating establishment.
Social benefits aside, the CSK concept is budget friendly. For less than $5 a meal members can get multi-course meals 2 or 3 times a week. Costs are kept low by buying ingredients in bulk and staffing the kitchen with members. We’re all about reducing this month and this is a great way to reduce the amount of money wasted on expensive restaurants and convenience meals.
Of course, the health benefits can’t be ignored. Preparing and eating foods with ingredients straight from the farm gives a whole new meaning to the culinary farm-to-fork trend. And this isn’t a nameless, faceless farm supplying your meal. A CSK builds on the community supported agriculture concept and ensures you have a personal relationship with the farm and farmer supplying your ingredients.
Beyond the myriad benefits you personally receive, CSKs offer several benefits to the overall good of the community. When people are unhealthy, we all suffer. Insurance costs rise, community spirit and morale drops, businesses suffer…the list goes on and on. When more people have access to affordable, healthy nutrition we all thrive.