Cocina CoLaboratorio
Ejido Loma Bonita, Mexico
image: Cascoland | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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finalist 2021
Location:
Ejido Loma Bonita, Mexico
Category:
agriculture & fisheries
Phase:
design development
Updated:
15 November 2021
Early 2018, at the border of the diminishing Lacandona Rainforest, a group of farmers, researchers, chefs and creatives sat around a kitchen table to exchange knowledge. After years of testing out recipes for climate-resilient food systems, the community has sketched up a plan to develop a Kitchen Lab alongside agroforestry plots. This meeting space will be key for regenerating local ecosystems and maintaining the cultures that nurture from it.
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Introduction
In 2021 the Loma Bonita community presented an initial plan sketch for a Kitchen Lab space at a communally owned plot. This Kitchen is the result of 3 years of collective processes that have been slowly building a common vision materialising on this piece of land. To strengthen knowledge and collective practices for food production in the region, the realisation of the Kitchen space will be crucial.

The Cocina CoLaboratorio project was born (under the name Keepers) in 2018 as a proposal to create bridges between groups working and living in the area around the kitchen table to connect, experiment and implement alternative solutions to farming that can conciliate land restauration and food production. Since then, scientists from the Autonomous University of Mexico and ECOSUR, creatives and chefs have been cooking and exchanging knowledge with members of the Loma Bonita community. In this process we have co-developed a garden of edible plants, a living seed archive, designed new recipes with local ingredients and materialised a temporary space for workshops, cooking and residencies.

 The next step is to start a process together with the community, architects and our transdisciplinary team to collectively design and build a Kitchen Lab that can host future encounters. A community kitchen, a laboratory for local food products and innovations that will be central to an experimental transdisciplinary learning lab for agroforestry and collective knowledge production.
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Impact
For over 30 years researchers have been studying the agricultural frontier of the Lacandona Rainforest in Mexico. This hyper-biodiverse Rainforest landscape has suffered a radical transformation in the past decades due to farming. Nowadays farmers that live and feed from its ground are becoming extremely vulnerable facing climate disasters, soil depletion and loss of biodiversity.

 The Kitchen Lab is intended to hold a knowledge exchange program designed to develop products, techniques and community organisation schemes that can promote, recognise and strengthen existing local capacities and social capital that are key towards the future resilience of farmers and their families. This program will invite residents to develop projects in collaboration with community members. They could be for example: an expert in food conserves, a craft designer working with local materials, an agroecologist working expert in pest control, a business consultant for cooperatives, or an artist printing recipe books. In the future we expect this space to grow into a community restaurant, comunications space, workshop for circular DIT technologies and a food forests. 

Loma Bonita is in an area with a significant lack of educational, health and service infrastructure. This space can be of great value in bridging skills, connections, and resources that can sustain a future-proof economy and health. We have drafted a common vision together with the community where this space could have a lasting impact on the livelihood of future generations in the area and inspire communities beyond.
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Core team
Loma Bonita has hosted generations of researchers from all over the world. In a pilot project in 2018, a group of creatives and chefs visited Loma Bonita with a mobile kitchen inviting communities and researchers to cook and share stories, ideas, and aspirations for the future of the area. During a final workshop we created a common vision and a long term plan together. The local authorities of Loma Bonita expressed their interest by offering their communal plot.

 The core team of Cocina Colaboratorio is conformed by Lucía (biologist), Felipe (biologist and producer), Elizabeth (radiomaker sociologist), Adriana (cultural anthropologist), coordinated by Mariana (designer with focus in community placemaking) and Diego (agroecologist with focus in community-led agriculture). We work on site for periods of 2 to 3 months per year alongside students, invited experts (scientists, artists, chefs, practitioners) and a core community group. Nelva, Freddy, Oralia, Checo, Bima, Paco, Jaime and Miguel are community experts in local building techniques, materials, gardening, cooking, and education, who have shared their biocultural, constructive and organisational knowledge to slowly shape what the plot is today. 

This year we’ve teamed up with Comunal:Taller de Arquitectura to mediate the co-design and building of this space. They will bring to the table expertise in facilitating decision making, collective design processes, and the social production of space focusing on local construction techniques.
Core team

image: Ruben Garay | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Image gallery
Site Map

image: Google Maps | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Area Mosaic Land Use

image: Nathalia Perez | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Floods

image: Bart Majoor | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Loma Bonita Community

image: Anna Kooi | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Plot View

image: Ruben Garay | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Oven Building

image: Ruben Garay | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Terrein landscape

image: Ruben Garay | CC-BY-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Building

image: Anna Kooi | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Assembly Garden Plant Donation

image: Cascoland | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Oven Building

image: Ruben Garay | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Bokashi

image: Cascoland | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Ethnobotanical Garden

image: Anna Kooi | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Seed Living Archive

image: Ruben Garay | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Kitchen plan by Freddy and Paco

image: Mariana Martinez | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Current Kitchen

image: Cascoland | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Cooking Exchange

image: Cascoland | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Making bread

image: Cascoland | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Miguel, Nelva and Xaris creating new recipe

image: Cascoland | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Fermenting Knowledge exchange

image: Ruben Garay | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Community products: Rainforest vinegar

image: Ruben Garay | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Technical drawings
Concept Sketch 2018

image: Mariana Martinez | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Concept Sketch 2018

image: Mariana Martinez | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Storyboard Methodology Step 1

image: Mariana Martinez | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Storyboard Methodology Step 1

image: Mariana Martinez | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Storyboard Methodology Step 2

image: Mariana Martinez | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Storyboard Methodology Step 3

image: Mariana Martinez | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Current Map 2021

image: Mariana Martinez | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Phase 1 Building: Kitchen Space

image: Mariana Martinez | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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External links
Help bring our project to life!
15 November 2021
Finishing the campsite
Since October a group of the community is very busy with finishing a temporary campsite, dry toilets and showers for researchers, chefs, artists, architects and other visitors to stay in the grounds of the communal parcel.
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15 November 2021
Fyring up!
In October a group of our team went back to work on agreements for the Lab Kitchen, they activated the bread oven and made delicious meals together!
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15 November 2021
Fyring up!
In October a group of our team went back to work on agreements for the Lab Kitchen, they activated the bread oven and made delicious meals together!
share on:mail linkcopy link to clipboardShare via LinkedInShare via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via Facebook
15 November 2021
Collaboration with Communal
In two weeks our collaboration will start with Taller Communal on site, to mediate the first phases of a co-design with the Loma Bonita Community.
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Help bring our project to life!
Where are we now
During the years we have received funding by StimuleringsFonds, What Design Can Do, UNAM, Wageningen University (via Forefront Program), the William Bullock Award, and CONABIO. This has allowed us to visit the site periodically, activate the space with different programming and build a community team during 3 years. From the community we have received building materials, edible and medicinal plants, 40 + species seeds and volunteering work to realise phases 1 and 2 of the project: outlining spaces and building temporary architectures. For phase 3 and 4, the community has offered necesary locally available materials like wood, clay, stone, palm leafs, cane, and bamboo and transport vehicles.
An indication of our team’s capacity:
50% funding already raised
90% expertise already found
50% materials / equipment already found
90% builders already found
Finance: € 9,000
To lead the co-design process with the community, workshops for experimentation with local building techniques and the overall building of this project we need extra funding. From our total budget, we have already raised a 50% seed fund from University partners, government bodies and arts fundings. This other 50% will be allocated to paying a stipend to invited architects, paying local builders for their expertise and time, and buying and transporting construction materials and kitchen equipment.

We expect that during a process of one year, this extra funding can help us realise a food processing lab and a common table/sharing space in an area of 150m2.
  • Architects
2,000
  • Builders
2,000
  • Materials and Transport
5,000
Skills: Technique
We are looking for expertise in building techniques and sustainable material treatment for tropical architectural systems. Because this space will be in an area of extraordinary humidity and constant rain, we would like to explore more durable ways to build with local materials. 
Stuff: Equipment & tools
For involving the community in building workshops we are in need of more equipment and tools in general. More specifically we are looking for 3 hand saws, 3 multi-use power drills and a router to start with. 
Help bring our project to life!
Location
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