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The politics of vegetables

Mar 01, 2019
Cooking together: not just sociable, but also political.
Image caption:
© Sacha Schlegel

Take large quantities of vegetables, numerous helping hands, oversized pots, plenty of voluntary assistance and a large portion of passion: these are the ingredients that make the «KochKollektiv» from Liechtenstein such a success.

The origin of this collective kitchen experiment was the MorgenLand Festival in Liechtenstein, an event that aimed to create a «future fit for our grandchildren». Despite all advice to the contrary, the festival caterers were determined that salmon rolls and caviar would appear on the menu. One group however strongly objected and, in a blog post, mentioned the Dutch peace activist and organic vegan cook Wam Kat. And then Wam Kat left a comment on their blog post, says Sacha Schlegel, one of the co-founders of the KochKollektiv: «Sure, he knew Liechtenstein. He’d driven past there.» So it was clear who would be doing the cooking at the festival. Three months later the highly motivated group organised their first gas stove and cooking pot.

Since then, the KochKollektiv – along with other volunteers – has been doing the catering for political demonstrations, CIPRA workshops and similar events. They were present at the «March against Monsanto» in the Austrian city of Bregenz, at the «COP 21» climate conference in Paris and at the «Wir haben es satt (We’re fed up!)» demo in Berlin. They usually peel, cut and cook more than 100 kg of vegetables. The huge pots can produce up to 6,000 steaming hot meals a day, served in return for voluntary donations. The money is enough usually to finance the next cookery action. «Food is important, it brings us together», and anyone should be able to cook, says Sacha Schlegel. For sustainability reasons they cook exclusively vegan recipes: to draw attention to food waste, the KochKollektiv also accepts donations from farmers or supermarkets.

Sacha’s journal is emblazoned with a sticker bearing the words «System change, not climate change!» and he wants to see a change in the political and economic system in future, as otherwise both humans and nature will suffer. «Disimproving matters is not a solution. We need other ways and means to tackle these issues.»


More information: (de), (de)

Filed under: social innovation