25 April 2016

The oven project.

Last semester I took a class on ideas – specifically, how to turn an idea into a project design into project implementation.

The idea of the course is to produce projects on a local scale that benefit the community. In the last years these have spanned from environmental to social: one group introduced cargo bikes to Kiel, which can be used to transport heavy or bulky materials without having to rely on a car; another started a language tandem to help refugees and other foreigners get paired up with locals to help learn German and get involved in the Kiel community; another group is running garden workshops with local schools to get kids excited about growing their own food; and one group even provides compost toilets at concerts to start a conversation about waste disposal in the 21st century.

If we all do a good job of learning how to build local projects, and then all go back to the other parts of the country or world where we consider ourselves locals as well, then we'll have a clue how to build cool projects there, too.

My group's idea began with my desire to do something related to bread. Apprenticing as a baker two years ago was something pivotal for me; the empowerment of being able to make something as fundamental as bread, and being able to do it deliciously and well, was intoxicating. The sound of the still-crackling crust as you pull it from the oven... magical. The baker I was apprenticing with called it "bread song", and it appealed to something very elemental in my soul; and so as we were brainstorming ideas for this class, it was already clear to me that I wanted to make a space where more people could have this experience of baking good bread of their very own.

Thus was born our oven, "Backen & Schnacken". An outdoor cob oven at a local and thriving community center full of awesome projects and engaged people, it's going to be a place where workshops and activities take place, where people can use shared ingredients or bring their own, where social exchange happens, and - most importantly - where people can hear the crackling and popping bread song of their very own loaves as they pull them out of the oven.

To apply for funding for this project, we created this video as an image of what the oven can be. It's a combination of my drawing, the great voice of my colleague Lena, and the editing prowess of our other colleague Aki.

Building started this past week; I'll post pictures soon.