Kokkerellen, cooking for freedom

Symbole de Kokkerellen, le drapeau pirate détourné, deux sabres croisant leur fer sous un ail - Kokkerellen symbol, a twisted pirate flag, two crossed sabers under a garlic

Symbole de Kokkerellen, un drapeau pirate détourné – Kokkerellen symbol, a twisted pirate flag

Here’s an interview from Koala and Marieke, from Kokkerellen, a belgium kitchen, realised in english during the COP 211.
They’re talking about themselves and their involvment in Kokkerellen.
I really hope you’ll enjoy this interview which is a way to go through ecological activism.
Note all those kitchens involved in the ecological activist movement are vegan2 : it’s a part of their investment.

Hello Koala ! Hello Marieke !
Koala : Hello !
Marieke : Hello !

May you first introduce yourself ? How would you present you ?
Koala : I’m Koala, I leave in Gand, in Belgium. If I’m not cooking with Kokkerellen, I’m involved in a social anarchist center, in Gand.

That sounds strange, for a French ! Is this center recognized by the authorities ?
Koala : The authorities know we’re there, but they leave us alone. We don’t squat the building, it’s granted : that’s part is completely legal.
Besides, almost all of the events and things that go on there are also like really soft : we have an info shop, and a people’s kitchen.

What the info shop is about ?
Koala : It’s a place where you can read or lend books concerning ecology, anarchism, everything that somehow deals with radical anarchism. It’s a big collection of books and newspapers that are politically interesting to us.

I know something like this in Paris, but it’s communist, not anarchist ; up to communism, it’s still recognized, and legal, in France ; when it comes to anarchism, authorities don’t like it. I don’t know why, but it’s like this.
So, you just explained that there is an info center. What’s more ?

Koala : Two times a week, the people’s kitchen takes place. We also use the building to aloud groups to have meetings, or to work on banners, for demonstrations, or other similar stuff.
Then, we have the weekly activity, and the days when nothing happens people can use the space to organize, or to meet.

That’s sound really interesting ! And where do you spend more time ? With Kokkerellen, or with the social anarchist center ?
Koala : With the social center ; with Kokkerellen, we don’t cook that very often, specially this year we haven’t been on cooking missions very often.

How did you meet Kokkerallen ?
Koala : I used to know some of the people who were involved, and, once, I had the opportunity to join them on a cooking mission, and, since, I keep on cooking for Kokkerellen, for aroud ten years now.

Do you enjoy it ?
Koala : Ya, I love it !

For what kind of events Kokkerellen is cooking ?
Koala : I can give some exemples of the places where we cook : we’ve been cooking for the anti- Castor transports, in Germany. The Castor is this train of nuclear waste which comes from Le Havre, and ends in Gorleben3. Each time there is an important transport, there are actions from local people and from all over Germany, and every time we join one of the action camps, to bring food to the people who try to put a block on the Castor.
We also cooked for the No Borders camp in Stockholm, in 2012 ; there was also the G8, in Scotland, in 2005.

Who is involved in a no-borders camp ?
Koala : Mostly activists who are involved in working with people without papers, and people without papers, and without that money …

Is there anything in common between a No Borders camp as it took place in Stockholm, and the camp in Calais, in France ?
Marieke : In 2009, there was a No Borders Camp in Calais.
Koala : Well, to answer precisely your question, the permanent camp you can find in Calais to help the migrants[ref : cf CMS, Calais Migrants Solidarity, Wikipedia, réseau français No Borders] is the continuity of the No Borders Camp which took place over there in 2009 ; but CMS, Calais Migrants Solidarity, isn’t a demonstration.
On the opposit, the Stockholm No Borders camp was a one week demonstration : people gathered to discuss the issues. It was an international gathering so people could network, and talk, and prepare actions. It was an activists camp.

How many people joined the Stockholm No Borders Camp ?
Koala : We cooked for five hundred.
Marieke : Yes, but we were not alone : Rampenplan, a Netherlands kitchen, was there too.
Koala : It’s true. Furthermore Rampenplan is bigger then we are, they have bigger means.

When you work in those camps, do you work for free ?
Koala : We rely on free donations. Most of the time we propose a suggested price, but if people have no money, they still have food.

Usually, do you pay for the food you’re cooking ? Or, here again, do you rely on donations ?
Koala : It depends : sometimes, we have to buy it, because we know there won’t be any donations. Some others times, like in Gorleben, we know that there’s going to be a lot of donations, because a lot of farmers are involved in the anti-Castor movement, and they give food each time.

I would like to know a bit more about Calais ? When have you been in Calais ?
Koala : I think Marieke knows better about that.

Marieke, may you introduce yourself, please ?
Marieke : Hello, I’m Marieke, I’m also cooking for Kokkerellen for ten years now.

What decided you to join Kokkerellen ? What’s your aim, your motivation ?
Marieke : It came by steps. The first time I’ve cooked, we were cooking for refugees in a church, in Brussels. It was really nice to get to the basics, to the food.

I like to ear this, to go back to the basics.
Marieke : Furthermore, food and the dinner bring community, it brings people together.

We were discussing this point with Koala while dressing garlic and onion together, earlier : food is really a good way to meet people, to have some chats.
Then, your first motivation is social ?

Marieke : Ya, definitively.

Is Kokkerellen your main activity ?
Marieke : It isn’t my main activity, it can’ be, because it does’nt happen regurlaly. But I feel a bit like the chick sitting on the eggs : there is nothing so passionate. It’s like my little child : it’s really important, and I really want to take care of it. It needs to go on.

What else are you doing you want to talk about ?
Marieke : There’s many things I love to do.
I’m working on an organic farm, on the fields, together with the farmer, few days a week.
And I’m doing more others projects : I’m installing a bakery, at home, to make breds and nice things I’d like to eat. And I’m making a forge because I do school to become a blacksmith.

What is blacksmith ?
Marieke : In my case, it’s artisitic metal work.

How amazing ! Then, you’re learning this ?
Marieke : Yes, I do, during evening school, twice a week.

Regarding bakering, are you selling your breds ?
Marieke : I’m just practising. And I do some bread here, too, thanks to Paul, a baker who came in Paris specially for the COP 21 [better to say the AntiCop 21, ed] : not much people know it, which is a pitty, because he came here with his oven. He’s making bread everyday for everybody.

That sounds wonderfull : where is he ?
Marieke : It’s really important : it’s the best bread ever. People must know it ! You can find him at « La Confédération des Paysans », in Bagnolet. And he’s doing this for a long time : he was in Calais.
Much more things are going on like this during the AntiCop 21, and nobody knows about it. For instance, at Le Jardin d’Alice4, or at Les Murs à Pêches, in Montreuil, close from « La Confédération des Paysans » and Paul, you can find others kitchens5, like Retroduction, from Switzerland. Furthermore, at Les Murs à Pêches, there is a home-made construction to hit up water with wood6 : it’s really lovely to see. Yesterday, after coming back from Place de La République7, where we luckily could give a lot of people food of yet lot of dishes, we prepared a big meal at Les Murs à Pêches, for an hour and a half, on this stove, alltogether with others kitchens.

How Kokkerellen started ? What was the aim of Kokkerellen at the beginning ?
Koala : Kokkerellen started with people involved in the anarchist center, in Gand, twenty-one years ago. I’ve found this out only a couple of years ago, while we’re looking how and when the anarchist center begun.
In the beginning there were all kinds of work groups ; one of the group was a transport group, people were sharing cars. It seems the transport group wanted to try to make a mobile kitchen.

Marieke : It started with the anarchist social center. They opened the place to do the people’s kitchens, and to start autonoms groups. They used to type their meeting reports, and by post they were sending the summary to everybody.
One of these groups were managing the shared truck. Another group was a people’s kitchen, and they decided to start a mobile kitchen, like Rempenplan, which can move and go to actions.
Now in Paris, like the others kitchens, we get a lot of gifts from Rampenplan, a lot of raw materials.
Rempenplan exists since the seventies.

What’s the link between Rampenplan and Kokkerellen ?
Marieke : They were seeing each other during the actions. Rampenplan might have participate to the beginning of Kokkerellen, by giving containers, casseroles they weren’t using anymore.

I would really like to ear more about your action in Calais. What can you tell me ?
Marieke : Around 2008, 2009 people started to think about opening an office in Calais to provide the migrants the legal support they need at the opportune moment. They wanted to protect the migrants from the police agressivity, notably by filming the violence of the repression.
Since the No Borders Camp of 2009, there is an office in Calais to deliver legal information and support, to provide computers to work, to set up a blog, to have an ABO, to take care of women and children, to organize. The office is managed by an autonomic group of No Borders : they have to move a lot, but they manage to keep a basic place in Calais, to support the migrants.
We went there with others kitchens in 2009, like Schmurtz, the Anarchist Tea-Pot, etc.
Afterwhile, others organizations have been cooking for the migrants in Calais.

How long did you stay in Calais ?
Marieke : Kokkerellen stayed during the camp period, and I stayed longer.
Koala : We stayed during the activists meeting called No Borders Camp of 2009.
Marieke : There’s certainly a sensitive difference between the situation i’ve seen in 2009, with 200 migrants, an today, with up to 6 000 migrants.

Why are you here in Paris ?
Koala : I’m here to cook for people who are doing actions. It’s my way to contribute to the anti Cop movement. I don’t know Paris, I don’t know the city, cooking is the most usefull action I can do.

Marieke : Parce que je trouve que ça va bien avec le climat ! I think it’s very important we’re here with as many people as possible, to show and give a bit pressure. It’s really not going good with the rules, the climate and the mentality, the indefference of the power and its consequences on the climate.

What do you think about the COP 21 :
Koala : It’s a joke. [laughes]


« COP : Conference of the Parties (COP)
The supreme body of the Convention[the Framework Convention on Climate Change powered by the United Nations]. It currently meets once a year to review the Convention’s progress. The word « conference » is not used here in the sense of « meeting » but rather of « association ». The « Conference » meets in sessional periods, for example, the « fourth session of the Conference of the Parties. », source http://unfccc.int/essential_background/glossary/items/3666.php

« The eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 11) will take place from Monday, 30 November to Friday, 11 December 2015 in Paris le Bourget, France. », source http://unfccc.int

« La France accueille et préside la vingt-et-unième Conférence des parties de la Convention-cadre des Nations unies sur les changements climatiques de 2015 (COP21/CMP11), aussi appelée « Paris 2015 ». C’est une échéance cruciale, puisqu’elle doit aboutir à un nouvel accord international sur le climat, applicable à tous les pays, dans l’objectif de maintenir le réchauffement mondial en deçà de 2°C.(…)

On parle aussi de « CMP » pour désigner les États de la réunion des parties au Protocole de Kyoto, Paris sera la 11e session (d’où le signe « CMP11 »). La CMP veille à la mise en œuvre du Protocole de Kyoto et prend des décisions pour promouvoir l’effectivité de celle-ci. », source ird.fr

2. It goes without saying delicious :-)

« Gorleben is a small municipality (Gemeinde) in the Gartow region of the Lüchow-Dannenberg district in the far north-east of Lower Saxony, Germany, a region also known as the Wendland.(…)
Gorleben is known as the site of a controversial radioactive waste disposal facility, currently used as an intermediate storage facility but planned to serve with the salt dome Gorleben as a future deep final repository for waste from nuclear reactors. », source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorleben


« Dans le cadre de la Cop 21, la Coalition Climat regroupant de nombreuses associations et ONG (Action contre la faim, les Amis de la Terre, Greenpeace, WWF, Peuples Solidaires et bien d’autres…) a fait un appel aux différentes cuisines alternatives de Paris et d’Europe pour nourrir les militants du monde entier venus à Paris exprimer leurs luttes aux différents gouvernements.
Dans ce cadre nous avons été sollicités par le « Kollectif Rampenplan » , déjà venu faire à manger pour le festival des Murs à Pêches, pour établir une des cuisines temporaire sur le site des Murs à Pêches. Les Lez’arts dans les Murs, le théâtre de la Girandole et le Fer à Coudre, ont répondu favorablement à leur demande. Ils sont actuellement sur la parcelle, et ce jusqu’au 13 décembre. Ils apportent la nourriture sur les événements parallèles à la COP21, les repas sont prix libres! », source https://mursapeches.wordpress.com/

6. A picture of where the kitchens were cooking at Le Mur à Pêches, with the special wood-burning stove on the back :

7. Où la manifestation alter-mondialiste du 29 novembre 2015 a eu lieu\Where the alter-mondialist demonstration of the 29th of november 2015 took place.

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