Our mission is to foster community projects and leaders that bring people together to share food, resources and relationships.
We envision a movement of community food projects built on the collaboration and creativity of local grassroots leaders coming together to challenge isolation, difficulty, and inequality in our current food system. We leverage our communal voice and share resources in order to feed ourselves and our neighbors. By supporting each other in our journeys as cooks and consumers, we work toward a Portland where healthy, local and justly produced food is valued on all levels—from the farm to the kitchen to the table. Ultimately, our vision is of communities connecting, cooking, celebrating, sharing and thriving in community kitchens and beyond.
Our actions and resources are led and informed by local communities. Each person and community has a valuable set of skills, knowledge and experiences. We utilize many forms of leadership, and work to lift up, celebrate, share and nurture these diverse gifts.
We create a welcoming environment where all people are treated fairly and with dignity, as we are all teachers and learners. We work together for food justice and equitable communities through sharing, listening, celebration, collaboration, and taking time to build community and shift power to local voices.
Good Food is healthy for our bodies, our communities, and our earth, from the seed to our stomachs. We practice good stewardship by supporting local farmers and businesses with sustainable production practices as much as possible. We cultivate awareness and growth around healthy eating and responsible purchasing while meeting each other where we are and respecting everyone’s choices and path. We believe healthy, sustainable, and justly produced food is for everyone and work to make this a reality.
In 2010, a few neighbors who had met by way of the Alberta Co-op Grocery in NE discovered a shared interest in community kitchens as a tool for addressing food security. On November 7th, they held a Community FEAST in partnership with Oregon Food Bank and Alberta Co-op where about 50 attendees from across the metro area shared a collaborative “stone soup” meal and discussed different models and goals for community kitchens. A smaller group continued to meet throughout 2011, and began developing lists of kitchens in churches and community centers that could be made available for people to come together to cook and preserve food. We officially founded as an Oregon nonprofit in September, 2011 and received independent 501c3 status in 2014. The first “collective cooking groups” were held in with support from the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods in 2012. Some members helped to start the Kitchen Share NE Tool Library in 2013.
A wide variety of people and groups have cooked and preserved together as part of Kitchen Commons, from one-time “pop-up Community Kitchens” at the national Closing the Hunger Gap conference to ongoing Community Kitchen cooking groups in different neighborhoods that brought a consistent core together every month for several years to learn and share. By the end of 2019, Kitchen Commons had held over 250 events at 17 different locations, and in 2020 we experimented with supporting creative, community-building cooking events online! Kitchen Commons is currently focused on connecting food justice leaders with training and resources, and incubating grassroots community food projects that are aligned with our vision and values. We’re grateful to all the people and partners who have been a part of Kitchen Commons over the years. Thank you!