Mobile Perma Kitchen

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The project client, Earth Learning, was founded in 2003 as a result of the work of the Earth Literacy network among Miami Dade College’s Earth Ethics Institute (Miami), Genesis Farm (Blairstown, NJ), St. Thomas University’s Center for Healing the Earth (Miami), and the Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center (Washburn, TN), all of which continue today. Earth Learning is a collaborative that inspires people, ventures, projects, and activities through ecological learning experiences and is dedicated to growing a life-sustaining culture in the Greater Everglades bioregion. Part of a global movement toward an ecologically sustainable world, Earth Learning is focusing programs to develop a local, just, and sustainable foodshed in the Greater Everglades.

The primary purpose of The Mobile PermaKitchen is to support learning experiences in sustainable agriculture, permaculture design, “real food” preparation and processing skills, and nutrition education. Audiences trained include people in food insecure communities, farm workers, entrepreneurs, backyard growers, and professionals. The goal is to teach by example using “people power” (hand-driven appliances) and appropriate technology that can run on renewable energy.

Further, many small farmers and community gardeners do not have access to a certified kitchen for value-added processing to give their produce a second life as salsa, dried fruit, or jams and jellies. The Mobile PermaKitchen will enable local small growers, farmers, community gardeners (in all situations from urban to rural) to process (freeze, dehydrate, prepare, cook) what they harvest on the spot, especially in off-the-grid locations.

The site is both static and dynamic.  Students addressed the constraints of designing for the road, as well as for the needs of the fixed operation of the structure which occupies a variety of different sites that range from the urban street to a rural field.  The Earth Learning base at Guara Ki Eco Farm in Redland, Florida, is an instructional, sustainable, agricultural grove and is the primary site for the Mobile PermaKitchen.

The project is designed to meet local, state and federal codes with regard to a structure of this type and occupancy, with special consideration given to issues related to the safe, healthy and practical preparation and processing of natural and organic foods. Students worked with the State of Florida’s technical requirements for a mobile food dispensing vehicle (MFDV) which require special needs related to equipment, fire suppression, lighting, plumbing, materials and methods of construction, and maintenance. The success of the Mobile PermaKitchen prototype generated a second mobile kitchen which was built by U-SoA alumnus, Mike Poupore, for the Bon Secours Virginia Health System. The Class-A-Roll supports Bon Secours Virginia’s Building Healthy Communities Initiative and is currently operating in the East End of Richmond, in coordination with the newly renovated Bon Secours Center for Healthy Living Sarah Garland Jones Center.


Client: Earth Learning

Students: Hassan Bagheri, Jenna Chandler, David Chessrown, Ryan Coffield, Thomas Johnson, Karl Landsteiner, Nick Marinos, Mai Oizumi, Erik Ross, Carol Santana Etai Timna, Ashley Walton

Faculty: Jim Adamson, Rocco Ceo, with Mike Arnspiger and Ralph Provisero