Stockpot Kitchen on a quest to feed America

The eleven human and two canine members of Stockpot Kitchen, and the van that carries them across America.

Photo provided to the Clarion

The eleven human and two canine members of Stockpot Kitchen, and the van that carries them across America.

Brighid Monahan, Staff Writer

If you walk down State Street in Madison on a Friday or Saturday afternoon it is not uncommon to see musicians and the homeless panhandling for a couple dollars. But rarely do these people looking for cash give that money away once they have spent the entire day acquiring it. Except however, for a group of traveling fire spinners or, as they like to be called, Stockpot Kitchen.

Originating from all over the world Stockpot Kitchen currently has eleven members, including two from overseas.

“Each of us brings a different skill to the table if you can cook, great, if you can’t then you can use one of your skills to do something else that can help,” says Nate, a man from Utah who joined the group less than two months ago. “We all do what we can to reach the end goal it’s all about cooperation and understanding.”

The money Stockpot Kitchen raises from fire spinning goes to put fuel in their cars and maintain the trailer that houses all of their cooking supplies. Eventually they are hoping to make it to Washington to help the people displaced from their homes due to the wildfires plaguing the west coast. Along with collaborating with the Red Cross to feed the homeless, Stockpot Kitchen also teaches campers how to live in the woods, properly make a fire, and general outdoor safety tips.

Spend an evening with the group and you will observe the way they all work together like a family, using democracy to make decisions in the group, always voting on what to do next.

“Sure we don’t always get along, and we don’t always agree but we still love each other and that’s what makes our ‘family’ work,” said the youngest member of the group a, 19 year old from Lithuania who goes by Yoda. Yoda went to culinary school and is one of the best cooks in the group according to its members.

“Each time we find a new place for fire spinning we have to do three main things,” explained Yoda. ”First, you have to make sure there is three feet from all foot traffic and exits, next you have to get a affirmative from the police. Then you have to draw a chalk line to tell people where not to walk so no one gets hurt. We all went through fire safety training and are all aware that safety is the number one thing.”

The attitude of the group is very contagious and before long you could find yourself beating a bongo along with them.

“Our simple way of life may seem strange but, if you think critically all you really need to survive is a sleeping bag, a tarp, water and food,” said Yoda.

The group knows how to use herbs and plants they find in the woods to heal their ailments.

“Mustard seed helps with inflammation, and it can take away the burn from a sting or poison ivy,” said Doug. “But if we need to we go to the hospital but that is very rare.”

The Stockpot family keeps growing every time they make a stop – they now have two dogs with them and their members keep growing.

“It won’t be long till we need a new vehicle,” laughs Tease. “An eight-seater van isn’t going to cut it for long.”