While half of the world population has to eke out a meagre living with great difficulty, an enormous amount of food is thrown away in the Western world: almost a third of what we produce. The Conscious Kitchen tries – for the time on a small scale – to make a contribution to stop this waste, in its own way.
International Studies students at the The Hague campus of the Leiden University and the The Hague University of Applied Sciences were looking for some room to start with this project and they appealed to Lekker Nassûh in the Witte de Withstraat. Previously, they had set up their own NGO to provide micro-credits to single mothers in Uganda. As often happens with students, only a part of this group remained and they started engaging themselves in the issue of ‘saved food’ and, as a consequence, The Conscious Kitchen emerged from this. The group is expending and by now a large number of students in Social Studies are involved in this project.
Every Thursday around 15 PM they come together in the Witte de Withstraat 127 in The Hague and start preparing the food that was collected the day before. According to one of the participants it was – besides the fact that it was of course very pleasant to prepare food together and to eat together – rather chaotic in the beginning and the food was rather mediocre. However, by now the food has become delicious and everyone knows how to work well. The major provider of collected food is the The Hague Market, but the Mikros and other local greengrocers also provide abundant quantities. Sometimes, the participants bring their own food from home. The company is international and the main language is English.
The students are looking for ways to professionalise this initiative and to guarantee the continuity of this project. Because when you study, at some point you also finish, and the intention is that The Conscious Kitchen grows into something bigger and, if possible, into a general consciousness of this matter, so that we waste as little food as possible.
For the moment, the kitchen is mainly vegan, but of course waste occurs on all levels. Anyhow, everybody is welcome at this place. You can join us and have a seat, based on a voluntary contribution, and every week about eighty to a hundred people do so. Everybody can come to have dinner or do the cooking, and also join us by picking up food from the market or other suppliers, or by bringing your own food. If you want more information and recipes, go to: www.consciouskitchen.nl
Visit The Conscious Kitchen
Text & Photography Wybe van de Kuinder
Translation Tiny Mulder