Community Kitchens as Places of Solidarity

Cooperative Housekeeping
“I will now speak of the immense impetus I believe co-operative housekeeping would give to farming, and the revolution it would bring to it. [...] It will be the first aim of the co-operative housekeepers then, [...] to secure for each society a landed interest of its own.”

C.F. Pierce, Cooperative Housekeeping, 1870

The historical movement for co-operative housekeeping brings the burgeoning reflection of cooperative enterprise of the workers movement into the sphere of domestic work. Pierce's revolution begins in the kitchen and in the de- and reconstruction of the many social, political and economic relations wrapped up in it. Taking control of the kitchen is taking control of the many relations of dependency reproduced in everyday life. Today this translates directly into the decolonial struggle and unexpected forms of solidarity that come out of community kitchens.

A transformative community kitchen based on the principles of agroecology can play a pivotal role in the radical restructuring of the entire food system, including both relations with producers (near and afar) and urban consumers.  By accessing urban and peri-urban land or liaising with peri-urban farmers they can contribute to develop a territorial food system, mindful of farmers’ livelihoods. By making the food broadly accessible, it addresses injustice in the availability of healthy food for all.  By cooking and eating together, it can break with patriarchal and individualised approaches to food.  By also sourcing food overseas from agroecological farmers, it can make available culturally appropriate food to a wider group of people. By organising forms of political engagement and knowledge sharing within the territory, alongside convivial initiatives, the kitchen can encourage the broader resourcefulness and solidarity, vis-a-vis the neoliberal city.

Building Block: Landed Community Kitchen