The People’s Kitchen at El Compadre serves free meals and social justice to those in need

At 7 a.m. one recent Tuesday morning, the crew from El Compadre already had their hands in the dirt of an urban farm in Point Breeze, clearing-out fallow beds and turning the soil of their newly acquired garden plots, even gathering their lucky first harvest, a bushy green purslane left by previous tenants.



a bowl of food on a table: Containers of rice with braised beef are filled at the People's Kitchen at El Compadre in Philadelphia, Pa. on July 15, 2020. The group made 200 meals for the needy.


© DAVID MAIALETTI/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS
Containers of rice with braised beef are filled at the People’s Kitchen at El Compadre in Philadelphia, Pa. on July 15, 2020. The group made 200 meals for the needy.

“Purslane is a very delicious weed that a lot of the gardeners don’t care about,” says Carly Pourzand, 27, an avid gardener who’s also been coordinating the transformation this spring of El Compadre into the People’s Kitchen, where these greens would soon be cooked.

A rotating crew of chefs

The restaurant, whose space had been in limbo since owners Cristina Martínez and

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The Ice Kitchen recipes: Tasty meals to fill your freezer

We are all time-strapped and wallet-wary, while still wanting to enjoy exciting, flavoursome, homemade meals at the drop of a hat. Basically, we want it all. And you know what? We can have it all. Introducing The Ice Kitchen Method of cooking, eating and (if it isn’t too over the top to say) living!

All the hard work and planning has been done for you: there will be no waste; there is always a use for that random carrot/chicken breast/lemon half; you’ll be able to tailor meals to your fussy children/ partner/guest; and dishes will be packed with vegetables, goodness and flavour.

You’ll cook once and eat twice; avoid expensive takeaways and instead indulge in delicious, wholesome meals that are cost-effective and quick, and where you know exactly what is in them.

All this is possible with your freezer.

The Ice Kitchen recipes

Long gone is the need for cardboard 

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Mera Kitchen Free Community Meals Support

The Mera Kitchen Community Meals project is our effort to provide our favorite hot meals to those in need during these uncertain times. We started this project with a goal of serving 1,400 meals in a week. As of April 9, we have served over 7,400 to community members and frontline health workers. We continue to receive more requests each day. Thank you for allowing us to sustain these efforts.

All of our workers will be compensated, as we are trying to keep generating income for those who need it most.

Mera Kitchen Collective is a worker cooperative focused on the empowerment of Baltimore’s refugees and immigrants through food entrepreneurship. We exist to share our incredible food with members of our community. We believe that promoting equitable access to opportunities, building community, and providing living wages are the keys to long-term self-determination, independence, and happiness.

The funds raised in this

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