Exploring the Culture of Gifting Food on the Playa
By Coach Antonia
How do you gift food to 70,000 people? Several camps on the playa at Burning Man venture to answer this question by doing it. We caught up with the founders of two of these camps and asked them about what drives them. Watch a video of our conversation with them and why they are different than all the other food camps.
“When you are on the playa, the elements are dry and arid.”
We talked to two camps that have something magical in common: they aren’t on the map. VooDoo Soup Kitchen, which serves soups, and WMICC Fruits and Veggies, serving organic fruits and vegetables. The reason they are both not on the map, and do not add themselves to the events lists, is because they cherish the element of surprise.
When you are on the playa, the elements are dry and arid. You are covered in dust, and drinking at least 4 liters of water a day. The sun bakes you all day, and the cold winds strip you of moisture at night.
“Imagine yourself walking in a place that makes you feel like Alice in Wonderland, and stumbling on a desert oasis serving fresh, ripe, juicy heirloom tomatoes.”
You roam the streets of a city that is like no other, with music, performances, art, workshops, and lots of parties that are put on by theme camps that line every street.
Imagine yourself walking in a place that makes you feel like Alice in Wonderland, and stumbling on a desert oasis serving fresh, ripe, juicy heirloom tomatoes. Or walking home on a cold night from a raging party only to be enticed by the smells of a fresh soup.
These are the experiences that both the camps we interviewed mastermind. There are many other camps that offer food, from pickles to bacon or grilled cheeses and even cereals for breakfast – but all those camps are on the map. They allow people to have an expectation. They allow people to plan to go there. They allow people to risk seeing this experience as mundane.
The camps we hunted down turn things on their head and consciously craft an experience of surprise, bewilderment and magic. There is no expectation, and for the camp founders they mention that this can lead to a lot more gratitude from those who receive this nourishing food.
We talked to their camp’s respective leaders, Katie of the WMICC Fruits and Veggies and Enosh of the VooDoo Soup Kitchen and asked them our burning questions about what drives them. Catch it below!