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In 2022, the blue kitchen on wheels finally went on tour in Germany again after a long break. Also this year on board: Three new faces and one old familiar. The new crew consists of Cäthe, Alex, Esther and Firas, who was already part of the 2018 tour.

Unlike previous years, the crew was not to open up new locations, but to strengthen existing locations of the Über den Tellerrand-network in semi-rural and suburban areas. This opened up an opportunity for local communities to reflect on the difficult experiences of previous years and counteract the effects of Covid-19. Inspired by the idea of A Compass towards a better Us, the satellites of Über den Tellerrand were (re)activated in this way in the north, east, south and west.

The four locations of the Compass Tour 2022 were Hof (S), Schwedt/Oder (O), Grefrath (W) and Rendsburg (N).

The Container Crew 2022: Esther, Firas, Cäthe und Alex (f.l.t.r.)

09th of May until 12th of June 2022

13th of June until 17th of July 2022

18th of July until 21st  of August 2022

22nd August until 25th of September 2022

Hof (Saale)

The impact of Corona on local communities

The Corona pandemic has taken a toll on many people in recent years. The burden of social isolation has intensified, especially for those who were already affected before the pandemic, including many people with a history of flight or immigration. At the same time, encounter initiatives such as those run by Über den Tellerrand were confronted with activities being moved to the digital space or not being able to take place at all. As a result, local communities had great difficulty in not fragmenting.

The Kitchen on the Run Tour 2022 picked up right where it left off. In particular, the Kitchen Container offered former and new volunteers, as well as local initiatives and networks in the field of social cohesion and integration work, a new focal point to resume their activities after the Covid 19 pandemic. As an open meeting space for people of all ages with different social and cultural experiences, it became a living laboratory for the exchange of ideas and a space for the joint elaboration of A Compass towards a better Us.

Chiara in action mode at the Container
Emotional Mapping in Schwedt
Emotional Mapping in Grefrath

Accompanying 2022

In order to better find out and apply what it takes for a successful community (re)building, the container tour 2022 was accompanied scientifically for the first time in the Kitchen on the Run history.

Social and cultural anthropologist Chiara Garbellotto visited the container at all four cities for about a week each. In the process, she conducted participant observation, informal conversations, and interviews with participants and members of the volunteer groups. She also offered a flash ethnography workshop at three of the four cities. Using emotional mapping, workshop participants learned about the different emotions that different places in the city can evoke in people, depending on what they had experienced there or associate with it. This was a simple way to approach the topic of differences in a playful way.

In the end, she summarized her findings in a manual titled “A Compass towards a better Us – Invitation to on-going Questioning for existing and new Communities.”

Through her research, Chiara was able to identify many opportunities and challenges that play a central role in community (re)building, for example, the organizational structure and hierarchies in the volunteer team, the different social positions of team members on which these are based, the choice, design and possibilities of their own kitchen as a place to meet and the successful process of a cooking evening so that differences are not ignored but acknowledged appreciatively.

In addition to insights into the process and results of the research, the manual includes working tools in the form of reflection questions and methods for addressing these questions. These tools can be used by Beyond the Plate Satellites as well as other communities. In doing so, Chiara invites groups to continually critique each other, move to a deeper level of conversation, and thereby grow together into a stronger community.