The SPU Community Kitchen has the primary mission of serving individuals with a limited food budget. The Kitchen’s agenda is simple: to cook affordable, delicious, and nutritious meals, using seasonal, locally-sourced fresh vegetables and fruits, to demonstrate how easy it is to make healthy food on a budget, and to provide social support and interaction. Through this platform, both student team members and participants learn and share cooking and meal-planning skills and food and nutrition knowledge, and are also a part of an ever-growing supportive community.
How it works
During each Community Kitchen session, community participants and students work alongside each other to prepare seven to 10 different recipes on various themes. Participants have explored Indian, Moroccan, and Eastern-European cuisine; cooked breakfast-for-dinner; whipped up cold-fighting dishes; and had a chili-and-cornbread ‘cook-in.’ Once the food is prepared, participants and team members sit together and enjoy a community meal. Typically, two to three dishes are prepared for participants to take home to enjoy later. Every recipe used in each kitchen, complete with nutrient analysis, is made available electronically for participants to use, or share with others. Printed versions are available on request.
Some of the participants are food bank clients and/or reside in one of Seattle’s Housing Authority apartment buildings. Some are regular Seattle metro residents. Some are SPU students. Participants range widely in age and cooking skills, and are recruited directly by the SPU CK student team, as well as through community partnerships with organizations in the neighborhoods around SPU. Much of the fresh produce is sourced from area farms, and childcare is provided free of charge, encouraging entire families to get involved.
Community Kitchen schedule
The SPU CK takes place during the academic year, October through June, on the evening of the third Wednesday of most months. It’s planned, coordinated, and run by a student team with oversight and guidance from a practicum instructor and a faculty director. The student team members enroll in FCS 4932: Community Kitchen Practicum and receive one academic credit during each quarter of their involvement. A new team is chosen every spring for the following academic year.