Natalie Sutton, Staff Writer
Beyond the meadows and past the garden, something is growing and it’s not just crops.
Junior Will Kimmel and senior Bennett Christian have been working on the design and installment of an outdoor sustainable kitchen in the meadows near the Guilford Garden. The idea developed last semester and has continued to thrive with the support of Community Senate.
The project started when Kimmel decided to build solar ovens for an environmental class assignment. From there, the plan expanded. Now the goal is to build an entire kitchen consisting of two adobe
ovens (or wood-fired ovens), two solar ovens, two solar dehydrators for food storage, a parabolic solar oven, a preparation site that includes a sink and clean counters and a patio.
The solar ovens will be able to heat up to about 300 degrees on sunny days. The parabolic solar oven, which is a satellite dish with metal reflecting plates on the inside, will be able to boil rice in about 25 minutes.
Kimmel hopes that people throughout the community will take advantage of the kitchen.
“The adobe ovens, the solar ovens and the solar dehydrator will all be public access so anyone from the area, not just Guilford students and staff, can come use this and hopefully buy local food and prepare it using renewable energy,” said Kimmel. “That’s the end goal.”
One adobe oven will be finished in time for Serendipity’s Meadow Fed, an event on Thursday, March 29, which celebrates sustainable agriculture and community.
Kimmel hopes that the whole kitchen will be complete and ready to use by next year’s Serendipity.
Christian, who has also been a huge part of the project, is excited to see the area put to use.
“I personally want to go make pizzas and cookies, and what not, in the (ovens), and I figure Slow Food and Cooking Club will use them here and there,” said Christian. “I’m excited for people to have the kind of cooking experience, and overall experience, an outdoor kitchen can provide.”
The new kitchen will ideally create a sense of community in the context of sustainable food and building practices.
So far, all of the building materials used are from campus, with the exception of the cinder blocks. This practice mirrors the project’s focus on using local resources and nothing in excess.
Kimmel hopes that this project will help more people learn about a new facet of sustainability.
“The goal of the ovens, as well as the rest of the outdoor kitchen, is to have a renewable energy preparation site for food, which is often overlooked in the discussion about sustainable food,” said Kimmel.
This project overlaps with the objectives of both the food justice and green movements, which have gained momentum and recognition over the past few years. The kitchen is an innovative way to engage community with these ideas and goals.
To become part of the conversation, come to Meadow Fed this Thursday. There will be a locally sourced pig roast and vegetables from the garden. People will gather to celebrate two of the most basic aspects of sustainability: food and community.
Slideshow Photo Credit: Natalie Sutton