4. Community Kitchen

Idea behind Community Kitchen

A community kitchen is a type of collective food service that provides meals to people in rural areas who may not have access to sufficient food or proper nutrition. These are designed to serve the most vulnerable populations such as the elderly, low-income families, and children. The food served is usually simple and nourishing, made from locally available ingredients. The goal of a community kitchen in rural India is to ensure that everyone has access to a nutritious meal, regardless of their financial situation, and to promote community health and well-being.


·        More nutritious meal at lower cost

·        Time Saving in daily tasks by engaging the community

·        Cost saving by division of work and volume cooking

·        Mental development of people using the time saved

Population to be catered

According to the official data collected through a survey, the number of individuals living in the colony is 735, with 218 of them being children. It is important to note that this number may not be a hundred percent accurate as there were some individuals who were not present at the time of data collection and thus were not included in the count. As a result, the actual number of people residing in the colony is likely to be slightly higher than what has been recorded. Our organization has set a daily catering target of serving 300 to 350 individuals. Our primary focus is on working males who come from different families but reside together in shared accommodations in Delhi to minimize their living expenses. Our objective is to provide nutritionally balanced and high-quality food to these individuals at an affordable price of INR 10 per meal. 


To ensure that all customers receive consistent portions, the meals will be served in standard sizes. In line with our commitment to promoting sustainability and reducing waste, we will not be providing utensils with the meals. Instead, we kindly request that customers bring their own or avail the option of borrowing steel lunch boxes by depositing a security fee. This fee will be returned in full upon the return of the lunch box, ensuring that our customers are not burdened by additional expenses. 


The Nutrition component of our program will prioritize ensuring that the individuals being served receive all of their necessary daily nutrients, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D45, Calcium, Iron, and others. To achieve this, we will adopt a cooking method that utilizes all-natural oils that are high in Vitamin A and Vitamin D45, instead of using refined oil. This is important as Vitamin D deficiency is becoming increasingly prevalent and can lead to various health problems such as rickets, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Our aim is to provide the maximum amount of nutrients at the lowest cost possible.

To accomplish this, we will include mushrooms in our menu at least twice a week. These mushrooms will be cut, dried, and soaked in the sun beforehand. Other food items that will be included in our menu are Rice, Rajma, Dal, Kadhi, Daliya, Bajra, and others. We will offer a diverse range of food items and grains, but chapati will not be included due to the excessive manual labor required for its preparation, which would not be financially feasible for us. Additionally, we will incorporate any locally available and edible leaves such as "Senjana ki patti" and "Guava leaves" into our cooking.

In order to maximize fuel efficiency in cooking and minimize fuel costs, all grains served in our program will be thoroughly soaked in water the day before they are cooked. This will reduce the amount of fuel needed to cook the grains. Additionally, to ensure that individuals receive fresh and nutritious food, we will follow a three-batch cooking schedule for each day. The first batch of food will be cooked in the morning to provide a meal before work, the second batch will be prepared during the day for lunch, and the final batch will be cooked in the evening to serve as dinner. This approach allows us to serve fresh, hot food to the individuals being served while also reducing food waste. 

Sustainable Model

As part of our effort to create a sustainable model, we will also focus on teaching basic life skills such as slow cooking to conserve fuel, washing dishes without soap using paper or dry leaves to reduce soap costs and promote efficient water usage. Our preferred option will be to use dry leaves as they are readily available and can be acquired cheaply without harming the trees. The use of paper will be considered as a secondary option. In addition, we will not use any plastic at all and will provide individuals with the option of eating on-site using natural leaves such as Neem leaves or Amla leaves. These leaves are readily available and affordable, helping us build a sustainable model for the future. 


Our analysis has determined that the per plate cost is approximately Rs 11. This calculation is based on an estimation of 40g each of rice and Rajma per plate, with the weight increasing during cooking. The price of rice and Rajma are Rs 58/kg and Rs 188/kg, respectively. Additionally, 20 grams of onion and 20 grams of tomato will be used per plate, which have a cost of Rs 21/kg and Rs 24/kg, respectively.

We have also considered the cost of fuel for cooking, and based on our estimation of one cylinder of fuel sustaining for 15 days, the daily cost of fuel for preparing 200 meals is Rs 60. Excluding the cost of labor, the above expenses lead to a per plate cost of Rs 11.04.

In order to minimize expenses, our approach will revolve around large-scale cooking, which will enable us to secure volume discounts and economies of scale. To achieve this, we plan to purchase food items in bulk quantities and maintain a supply of 7-8 weeks’ worth of food.

As per a survey conducted, there are 108 housewives in the colony and we plan to hire a few of them on an alternating basis to reduce the cost of labour for cooking. Initially, we anticipate that one cylinder of fuel will last for 14-15 days, but after implementing the practice of slow cooking, we expect to be able to sustain one cylinder for approximately 1 month.

In the long run, our aim is to secure subsidies from government spending and funding from local businesses to ensure the financial sustainability of our program. By implementing cost-saving measures, we aim to provide nutritious meals at an affordable cost to the individuals in the colony. 

Phases to implement

Our approach to the community kitchen will be implemented in multiple phases. During the first phase, we will offer free meals for 3-4 days to promote and raise awareness about our kitchen. This will also allow us to estimate the demand for our meals and make adjustments to our cooking methods to minimize waste.

In the subsequent phase, we will start charging a nominal fee of Rs 10 per meal. We plan to initially cater to approximately 300 meals and gradually increase the number of meals as demand grows. Our goal is to provide healthy and nutritious meals at an affordable price to the community. By gradually increasing the number of meals we cater to, we aim to ensure the financial sustainability of the community kitchen while also providing a much-needed service to the local residents.