Food Box

Bitches with Kitchens organizers Ashley Lukens and Cherub Silverstein -- a pretend talk about a real subject.
Image: Leslie Ashburn

Ag Conference ‘Kitchens’ meet ponders home cooking’s fate

What if kitchens were illegal?

The flyer just appeared on my desk: “Bitches With Kitchens,” it said, and invited the reader to ”stand up and fight for our rights as home-based business owners and mamapreneurs” and named a date and place for a hearing.

I was bummed because I had missed the date, wondered what the issue was that was threatening home-based cooking, In other words, I bought the whole thing at face value.

Duh! The “hearing” in questions was actually a forum on possible futures for agriculture and related fields at the 2012 Agricultural Conference in Honolulu late last month. Breakout sessions considered what would happen if: 1) There was a total collapse of the system, 2) Things went on as they are, 3) Government regulation stepped in. 4) Something transformational happened.

Leslie Ashburn of Macrobiotic Hawaii, who heard of Bitches with Kitchens from her friend Ashley Lukens, said the idea was to spend a long session considering possible scenarios. Their scenario was this: The Wholemart Corp. has taken over the food business and it’s illegal to posses a home kitchen; all food is to come from Wholemart Consumers who like to cook are doing so in underground kitchens and beginning to organize and fight back. That was the transformational event.

The organizers built a gorgeous kitchen display, created T-shirts and made jam from foraged fruit to entice conference attendees to come to their session.

During the session, the brainstormers envisioned a cooperative called Zyntropia that would help people to achieve a zero carbon footprint in their homes and neighborhoods, to live more healthful lives and track the effects of their lifestyles by means of special meters tied into a central reading system, which would respond with appropriate guidance, training or assistance. (In other words, if you sneaked a Snickers, they’d know and you’d be gently counseled.)

“People absolutely loved the (kitchen model), but more importantly, they came to the session and, despite the humor, they saw that it truly IS an issue.” Home cooking is an endangered art, she said, even as it’s one of the most valuable tools anyone can use to maintain good health, control costs and remain connected to agriculture and their food sources.

“It was part fact and part fiction, yes, but it had a real message,” she said.

See Bitches With Kitchens Facebook site at: http://[www.facebook.com]