A karma kitchen is a non-profit, transparent, volunteer based, good-will project that supports community style dinners. The idea is simple: The food is free, someone has already paid for you. Karma kitchens are always free; you can never buy a karma dinner. The food is cooked by volunteers who are cooking for others, expecting nothing in return.
The whole spirit is that of giving, expecting nothing in return.
Now just like how someone has already paid for your dinner, you too, after experiencing a Karma Kitchen, may donate to the project so that someone in the future has the chance to have a free dinner. If you do choose to donate, remember that it is always to be done in the intention of giving without expecting anything in return, and likwise, when you are eating a karma dinner, remember that it is always to be done in the manner that you are accepting what is givin to you, and not paying for it. You can never pay for a Karma Dinner. You can only accept one. This is how Karma Kitchen works. Not even volunteer cooks expect a dinner in exchange for their work--they do it willingly and without expectation, simply giving to give.
All money collected by donations is accounted for and published for everyone to see, ie. transparency. All food bought is used exclusively for Karma Kitchens and all money collected is used exclusively for Karma Kitchens. It is a P2P project, and therefore, a self-organized public service. If you have any questions please feel free to ask Jeremie Rodger at http://www.jeremierodger.com/contact.html
Things to do for the project:
- Write up a couple of menus for the kitchen with example budgets
- Offer ways to ask for donations, voluntarily
- Perspectives on how the kitchen services go over in different demographics
- A list of things that are long term assets that are created by this project: recipes, documents, recruits, etc.
- 5 things we want to happen, 3 things we are avoiding
- Games to be played at the events and how to make more of them
- Work continues on documents here: http://bit.ly/bVFX8h
On Finances and Funding a Karma Kitchen: Questions and possible points of discussion
A Karma Kitchen is another form of an already existing movement; other instances of this service known as Vokü (Berlin), La Cuisine des Gens (France, Québec), Food-not-Bombs (world-wide) and state-sponsored public sector 'welfare' kitchens, popularily known as Soup Kitchens (world-wide). Each of these is a variation of the same core philosophy, that is: feeding the people. However, each has and subscribes to different methods of funding, organization and participation. Further, they each seemingly 'serve' different demographs of the population, and under different ideological stances. This article is about these differences, notably in funding and finances, and attempts to raise questions and reflections that Karma Kitchens may need (or has already needed) to consider for their success.
1. Finances and Funding
A Karma Kitchen is presently approaching the question of funding through direct volunteer participation, in the manner of 'paying it forward', otherwise called 'Gift Economy'. In this model of funding each event held must have the adequete funding and resources to host that particular event before attempting the dinner. A Karma Kitchen should never attempted without the adequete funding or resources, and this speaks particularily to funding or resouces that are gathered against credit. Since Karma Kitchens are never to be charged for, they must always be funded beforehand. The Karma Kitchen trust fund will be the source of funding.
The trust fund is sustained by donations from participants in Karma Kitchen events. Anyone may make donations to the trust fund, so long as they understand that they are to do so in the spirit of giving and not expecting anything in return, a self-less act.
The major point in the Karma Kitchen, and the one that sets it apart most evidently from the other forms of public meal services, is this approach to funding. Vokus are funded by either direct exchange, or direct donation, meaning that upon receiving a meal, participants are expected to either pay a fixed price (2 Euros) or donate what they wish. In this model there is a direct exchange or transaction between the participants and the organizers. Food-not-Bombs fund their operations mostly by food donations from farmers or grocery stores and then proceed to prepare the food for the public, rarely asking for donations. Public service projects are funded by the state.
The Karma Kitchen model is encouraging the active participation of giving without expecting anything in return. Further, it is encouraging the active participation of accepting that which is given to you. The obvious problem avoided here is that if someone is unsatisfied with their meal or their experience, they no longer have the right to demand or critize the establishment (not meaning that the establishment can us this as an excuse for a poor service, standards will apply), for they have not paid for anything, they have not become a customer, they have simply (and dare we say humbly) come to accept a meal which has been paid, prepared, and served for them for free. It is the practise of humbleness, of acceptance and of contentness. Likewise, the participants are preparing the meals not to earn money, nor gain resources, but to actively participate in the spirit of community development and giving without expecting anything in return. It is the whole atmosphere of giving and sharing; of developing community, culture and, of course, good Karma.
This model is still in experimental form, by no means stable. Experience and conclusions to be added.
White Bean and Tomato Stew (served with rice and carrot and red cabbage salad)
A good white bean stew with a tomato base. Simple to make in large portions and fills them up hearty.
Servings [QTC: Quantity To Come]
-White beans (soaked for 8 hours) -3 large carrot -2 large onions -Fresh tomatoes [QTC] or small can of tomato paste. -Salt and pepper [QTC] -(if desired) Oregano and basil.
Rice -Risoto (rice shaped pasta) [QTC] -Rice [QTC] -salt
Salad -6 carrots -one quarter large red cabbage -1 lemon -olive oil -salt and pepper
1. After beans have been soaking for at least 8 hours, put them on stove to boil. They will have to get to a boil and then simmer (on medium heat) for about an 45 minutes to an hour. It is important when cooking beans to remove the gas that is emitted from the beans during the boiling. Take a large spoon and scoop away the gas-like bubbles and residue that raises to the waters surface. Usually takes about 10 minutes until all gas is gone. Leave to simmer.
2. 15 minutes before beans are finished (soft to the teeth) begin to boil water in kettle (or another pot). After setting water on boil, chop the onions and the carrots and put into a seperate pot to fry. Fry with oil until onions are soft. Once soft, add the tomato paste and fry together.
3. At this point, the beans should be ready. Drain beans in strainer and then quickly wash with boiling water from kettle or pot. After, add to the pot with the onions and carrots, and then add boiling water to the pot, submerging the beans. Turn stove up until it reaches a boil, then turn low and let simmer.
4. At this stage, let simmer for at least 15 minutes, or until beans have reached the right softness. If beans were too hard before, no problem, just boil them longer in the tomato onion and carrot stew until ready. To each his own.
5. Once everything is ready, and only at this point, add salt and pepper (which toughens up the skins of the beans) and ready!
1. Wash rice (if basmatic) and drain. Boil water seperatly. 2. heat oil in pot and add a handful of risoto. Fry until they are brown. Add rice. 3. Fry rice in oil and risoto until half of the rice turn white, like the elephants tooth. 4. Add boiling water (1.5 water to rice. ex 2 cups of rice, 3 cups of water) and salt, then put lid on. Keep heat high. 5. Let boil until water line reaches the rice. Turn heat down very low and keep covered. 6. When all water is gone (test: turn heat up and listen to the pot, if you hear crackling, its ready), turn off and leave covered. 7. Let sit for 15 to 30 minutes covered, then take large spoon and turnthe rice from the bottom up, pushing apart the rice stuck together. 8. Serve!
Carrot and Red Cabbage Salad
1. Wash carrots. Grate into salad bowl. 2. Take cabbage. Cut into small pieces, slightly larger then carrot gratings. 3. Add lemon, oil and salt. 4. Mix and serve!