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4/5/2018 / Issue #018 / Text: Robin vd Berg

Setting Up Camp: Kaskantine 3.0

In a quiet corner of Nieuw-West, just across the A10 from Hoofddorpplein, lies the unpretentious neighborhood Delflandplein. Long known for its worn-looking social housing and windy streets, it is now an area in the process of gentrification. Shiny new apartments cast their shadows onto construction sites, but also something a bit more out-of-the-ordinary: a number of old shipping containers surrounded by planted fields.

The grounds are walled with a christmas-tree lined mound of soil, the entrance reads simply ‘Kaskantine’, and the place looks like a mix between a post-apocalyptic gypsy village and a medieval fort. Which might not be too far from the truth. On close inspection, a sign will tell you this is an ‘Urban Farm Restaurant Tuincafe, an off the grid experiment’. 

It all started as one man’s personal solution to making a living in the city after a long period abroad, Menno Houtstra first envisioned De Kaskantine as a mobile restaurant built from shipping containers and other reused materials. Off-the-grid technology like solar panels, rainwater filters, aquaponics and waste-fueled rocket stoves keep the operation affordable, and make it possible to move it to any empty lot. The first version of this experiment was located in the small town of Halfweg, it was then moved to Haarlemmerweg, next to the old ING-building. The latest location, on Overschiestraat 600, is its third temporary home.

The Kaskantine  is a place where eco-volunteerism meets an international community of students, refugees and urban nomads of all ages. Outdoor vegetable gardens are complemented by an aquaponics herb-garden and a waste-fueled rocket stove that produces delicious pizza twice a week on donation.

For the visitors of the old Kaskantine location, all this will be nothing new. But this is De Kaskantine 3.0, and it’s bigger, better and possibly faster than its predecessors. And more has changed than just the size and appearance. The new Kaskantine collective is also home to a number of eco-friendly, low-budget (also refers to pricing), self-organised collectives and businesses. 

A short list:
In addition to hosting their own pizza night, De Kaskantine hosts other cooking collectives on various nights of the week. Besides the ones returning from the old location, there will be a few new surprises.

De Voedselkringloop is a ‘free supermarket’ in more ways than one. There will be free bread and vegetables available saved from regular supermarkets and bakeries in the surrounding area. Different from the ‘Voedselbank’, it is free to go there, with a no-questions-asked policy. They are a volunteer-run organization and will open their doors to the public 6th of May. Contact them through FB: @De-voedselkringloop

Healthy and Affordable is a food surplus initiative of the social business SapienSEE. They use dehydrating techniques to preserve fruit and vegetables that would otherwise be wasted, package them sustainably to sell in a variety of products. This democratic and transparent organisation is run by volunteers. 
Find out more:

StadsOogst helps to transform Amsterdam’s green waste into worm food in their luxurious worm-hotels. In addition to using this compost to help green the local community, ‘StadsOogst Wormen Poep’ can be purchased in various stores throughout Amsterdam. They also offers workshops on various forms of composting, making soil and building your own worm hotel.

Dog Radio is an underground radio station that hosts live-streams and throws open-mic parties on location. They are always open to collaborate with new and interesting Hip Hop, Reggae and Bass Music artists and dj’s. They will also be hosting DJ-workshops.
FB: @dogradiostation is a local company that recycles aluminium cans that can be deposited in their bins on site. 

If this speaks to you, De Kaskantine is still looking for volunteers and interns. They will also have space available for workshops and other activities. Contact them on FB: @Dekaskantine .