Local communal kitchen organization comes to Ayer’s Cliff
By William Crooks
Local Journalism Initiative
Cuisines Collectives Memphremagog, an organization that runs communal kitchen sessions all around the Eastern Townships, has opened up a ‘service point’ in Ayer’s Cliff’s community hall in partnership with the local government. At 11 a.m. on Oct. 18, 11 interested residents and organizers gathered for its first session.
“[Cuisines Collectives] has been in business for 30 years,” Jonathan Goulet-Abitan, organizer and animator, explained, “it’s our anniversary this year.” They have decided to expand their services further. The organization has numerous service points, their newest being Ayer’s Cliff’s community hall.
Participants in their activities gather in groups of around two to six in a communal kitchen and prepare food. Everyone pitches in; at the end of the activity everything is split evenly among them. Meal choice is made as a group as well, with help from an animator who can suggest menu options.
Sometimes people have special dietary needs or want to cook something inexpensive, Goulet-Abitan noted. Those with similar tastes are usually put together, he added, like vegetarians with vegetarians.
“It is very economical,” insisted Director Lisane Boisclair, because a fair amount of the food used is provided free of charge. This includes many nonperishable and canned items. Every session, participants, after pooling their resources, leave with an entrée, two main courses and a dessert – with portions enough to feed one’s whole family. “It’s at least $15 worth of food per person,” she said.