Eat Soup, Pay With Dirt

Sketch by Dan Allende of Futurefarmers

Philly is full of sites that used to be industrial spots where the soil is now completely contaminated by hazardous wastes (yay community gardens). A pop-up project will be made on one of these sites in Northern Liberties for the first week in April. This seems like a project we’d see pop-up in Brewerytown or Kensington, a place where land comes cheap and young residents are open to a more sustainable city-living attitude.

The Soil Kitchen will be a community effort, fueled by wind energy and local foods; a working kitchen that will serve locally sourced soup. Cash, Visa, Mastercard and basically all other forms of payment will not be accepted. Currency for the Soil Kitchen will be—you guessed it—soil samples. The Kitchen will take all the soil samples accrued over that week to test for contamination. The results will be put on a map of the city so we can see just how hazardous the land we are building (and growing on) is.

The secret pop-up spot of the kitchen (although the wind turbines might give it away) is an old warehouse at 2nd and Girard. Backing the project is the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and the San Francisco-based artist group Futurefarmers are making sure Soil Kitchen comes to fruition. (The project coincides with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s National Brownfields Conference being held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center the same week.) Northern Liberties already has a full dossier of eco-friendly features and projects, and we are glad to see another one so close to the majority of city dwellers, but we can’t help but hope outskirt struggling neighborhoods get the opportunity to have these types of projects.

FEB 21 UPDATE: There will be soil sampling tour throughout March, where Soil Kitchen will teach people how to take the correct soil samples for testing. Check back soon for more info