I Lukas Hosford, aspiring member of the Diamante Bridge Collective’s regenerative community, hereby propose an alchemy kitchen for production of relatively low-cost, convenient alternatives to the commonly available industrial food.
What leads me to make this proposal?
Food is timeless and universal. We all eat. All intact cultures I know of circle and pray at least sometimes before eating. Food prepared with love is always preferred over food prepared in haste, mechanically, or with poor intention. Food features prominently in nearly all of the most significant literature: Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden, Jesus fasting in the desert, the Buddha being offered a bowl of food and recognizing it as an outward manifestation of compassion.
Yet the food we come together to eat has become a major point of division and controversy. Overall as a society, we are radically divided over what is healthy, what is ethical, and what is desirable. Besides the conceptual and ideological opposition, we face a practical challenge: the most readily available, affordable convenient foods are certainly not healthy or ideal in any way.
As an aspiring regen, I believe that the best approach is, rather than to bully, shame, or pressure anyone into dietary transition, instead to seek to seduce others and ourselves into generally better choices surrounding habits of consumption.
Thusly, I see an opportunity to get creative. We have a lot of aspiring chefs in the community. A lot of us spend money at the nearby restaurants and on prepared food of various kinds. We have a lot of ability, as a community, to collect ingredients.
So, I propose a community kitchen within the sacred ancestral sanctuary, where food and medicine is prepared with love and care and then presented creatively, with story, performance, and culture: the community remembering how to eat together, off the land, wholesome food every-day without it feeling like a burden or sacrifice in any way.
Some thoughts on simple foods that cater to common tastes and enhance our existing kitchens and pantries:
-Sourdough bread from locally sourced ingredients, gluten free – savory or sweet
-Crackers and Chips
-Dried Fruit and Trail Mix
-Brown Rice/Yucca Wraps
-Ketchup and curry pastes
-Herb and spice infused Oils
-Pestos, spreads, and jams
-Chutneys and relishes
-Broths – mushroom, bone, and veggie
I am envisioning daily or twice-daily delivery to community share points: fresh baked bread, banana bread (we have so many bananas it seems!), personally tailored medicinal porridges, juices and teas, prepared vegetables, items from the community pantry and a telegram/whatsapp channels which announce availability and receive requests/orders.
By responding to the economy-of-scale challenges that each of us face living in the semi-fragmented way we often do (living in personal quarters and cooking personal meals, rather than as a family/community), this project would support us all to save money, feel better, and recover from sickness more easily.
We have many of the tools already needed to build a comprehensive food-production kitchen. We have many of the skills necessary to fabricate others: a tortilla press, a bread oven, a solar slow-cooker and food dehydrator, a wood fired range, for examples.
Obviously, this will need to be financed. Any given food we may choose to produce has a cost associated with it. How we may choose to monetize it is an open ended question, as is how we staff it.
My thought is that we manage the design team behind the systems of the kitchen and the supply chain for ingredients in as unified/coherent manner as much as possible, thusly controlling the means of production sociocratically, but that we staff it and monetize it more diversely: hiring to fill roles from the wider community as well as creating positions for work traders, volunteers, and independent contractors. Done right, this will lower the entry barrier to market for chefs and chef teams seeking to bring forth their creations. It would also help us to keep the price of quality food low and ensure that if there is a surplus, it is not going to waste when there’s something that can be done with it to help people.
If we manage the economy of the system using a regeneratively programmed community currency, the need for Dollars and Colones from the outside world can be decreased. How we manage stake in such a currency is an open-ended question, but I imagine that we might have interests to blend CSA, community redistributive, and traditional marketplace models all together in a complementary manner.
To facilitate rapid growth, I propose we partner with retreat and hospitality businesses and make an NFT project that sells coupons for meals as speculative commodities to investors from afar, who can then sell them back to tourists, visitors, and luxury resorts later on down the line.