From forest to fork: Lab & Kitchen’s Rijnvliet residency

A month-long celebration of food, community, and knowledge sharing in the heart of Rijnvliet's food forest

The CULTIVATE project, in collaboration with the Municipality of Utrecht and Wageningen University, recently concluded a fruitful month-long event in Rijnvliet. Hosting the renowned Cascoland’s Lab&Kitchen, the Rijnvliet food forest became a hub of knowledge exchange focusing on local food production, preparation, and its cultural and social implications.

Cascoland, a dynamic collective of creatives, gardeners, and food producers, has for years managed the celebrated Fruittuin Van Moerkerken in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. This initiative not only emphasizes the importance of local food production but also harnesses the power of community involvement in managing and benefiting from local food resources.

From September 4th, Rijnvliet residents and food enthusiasts were invited to engage daily with Cascoland at a temporary Lab&Kitchen set up at the food forest’s edge. Activities were centered on the benefits and potential of the food forest, emphasizing hands-on cooking, tasting, and knowledge sharing about sustainable food practices. Specifically, Cascoland set up a temporary pizza station at the perimeter of the food forest, adjacent to a school. This initiative allowed them to interact with numerous residents daily, unveiling their enthusiasm and culinary experiments with locally sourced ingredients.

The month’s events culminated on September 28th with a festive Lab&Kitchen gathering. Attendees came together to prepare a communal meal, utilizing local and sustainable ingredients. Conversations flowed around the potential and challenges of sustainable food production, while attendees actively cooked, tasted, and swapped recipes.

A “Tasting Tour in Rijnvliet” was held in the afternoon. This journey led participants through various front gardens and community-sharing cabinets, offering them the chance to sample snacks crafted from local harvests. As participants wandered through these gardens, specialists engaged with them, sharing insights and encouragement about their endeavors in the Rijnvliet community. These participants were provided with recipes, visual guides to ingredients, and insights on where to locate them locally. The culmination of this tour marked the beginning of a collective recipe book, the “Rijnvliet Recipes”.

The event served as a testament to the power of community, collaboration, and the immense value of sustainable local food initiatives. Rijnvliet’s edible neighbourhood was celebrated, and all were welcomed to immerse themselves in the experience.

Photo credit: Cascoland