Charting A Course: Spring 2019 - Community

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Back in January when Chris and I did our business planning for 2019, we decided to chart the course of the coming year with quarterly “themes” to guide and direct our programming, menus, marketing, and visual expression. As any creative person knows, the challenge of coming up with fresh content out of thin air is mitigated by having a foundational idea to call upon for inspiration, especially with limited time and resources.

So this quarter, we are focusing on COMMUNITY. As people come out of winter hibernation, there’s a natural instinct to flock together, to celebrate the planting season, to gather again on front porches and in sidewalk cafes soaking up the first rays of warm spring sun. Unlike a family unit, a community is a social structure that involves choice, shared interests, and shared goals. Communities can be small, like a supper club, or big, like a baseball fan base, and in “small town New England” where we live, communities come together in this shoulder season to support local agriculture, charities, schools, businesses, hobbies, etc. We leave the hearth and take to the streets to say, “phew, we all survived another winter together…now let’s have some fun!”

Community is at the heart of everything we do at Orange Door Kitchen…from supporting local food systems to building up small food entrepreneurs to setting a table for strangers to come together over a meal, our business exists to create community! Before we started the Orange Door Supper Club, Chris and I were sort of loners; 30-somethings with no kids, living in the suburbs, working in the city (me)/from home (him), with a few close friends and a handful of philanthropic social ties. Our lives were small and we were restless. We considered relocating to one of our favorite cities for a fresh start, but Seattle turned out to be too dreary and we realized that we could make a few changes in our lives in New England without all the effort of moving across country. Many of you have heard our supper club story (and if you haven’t, you can read it here), but you may not know how much that first dinner changed the direction of our lives. Opening the door to a new community - and then being open to letting it unfold in an organic way - has been an expansive, gracious, and sometimes challenging journey, but we are no longer restless. We are connected.

What does the theme of community look like at Orange Door Kitchen? How are we planning, cooking, and creating visuals around this lofty idea?

We are hosting our neighborhood bookseller (The Silver Unicorn Bookstore) for their 1st Anniversary Celebration party!

We are raising support and awareness for local food aid and hunger relief with Open Table of Concord/Maynard and Littleton Community Farm.

We have signed on to support the Acton Boxborough Farmer’s Market for their 11th season.

We have been working on developing sourcing relationships with our community of local produce farmers (like Dancing Plover Organic Farms), and will feature fresh seasonal ingredients in our menus.

We have joined The Fresh Collective, a dynamic group of female food entrepreneurs. Sweet!

We are growing our own little community by seeking to hire a kitchen and front-of-house coordinator.

We continue to pursue collaboration with chefs, food stylists, food writers, and people doing interesting things in the food industry to expand our offerings for the community of engaged eaters in West Acton who are passionate about good food and good company.

We will have supper club dinners and co-working member “family meals” and happy hours.

We will work hard to build our shared kitchen roster and support the businesses that currently cook at Orange Door Kitchen.

We will visualize community online and in our space with a palette of peachy oranges and spring greens - signs of life, growth, and rounded-out togetherness. Maybe we’ll even change out the piece of art over our mantel?

What ideas do you have for how Orange Door Kitchen can bring the theme of community to life this spring? We’d love to hear from you here, on social media, in an email, or in person the next time we see you!