Thursday, May 19, 2011
Fat Kids Kitchen
By SUE WATSON
An assortment of young people, dogs, and belongings recently passed through Potts Camp.
Fat Kids Kitchen, a branch of the original Fat Kids Kitchen now in its own existence for five years, consisted of 10 people and seven dogs.
They are from all over the United States, including Detroit, California, South Carolina, and Florida, said Clem Vinson.
“We are typically a free-food kitchen,” he said.
The group left Florida and headed to Alabama when they learned of the recent tornadoes. They came through Decatur and Cullman, Ala., and cooked free food and gave away clothing, he said.
“It’s more about community building and sharing a smile,” Vinson said. “This is the way we live our life.”
He is the oldest of the group and will be 40 this year.
Their next destination is Washington State.
Because of their unusual nomadic-type lifestyle, Vinson said they are not wanted in some places – especially like California and places in Oregon. California has already seen its share of flower people and considers it old hat, he said.
“They’ve seen it for so long,” he said. “Sometimes the law gets us to move on. The worst of it is when you are going through places where there are established cultures like Oregon, Boulder, California and Ashville. They’ve seen it before.”
Vinson said his favorite spot is the Ozarks in Southern Missouri.
The group sets up camp in national forests, or sometimes in Walmart parking lots or at truck stops.
Living a natural life, the group cooks all their own food, fixes all their vehicle problems, makes their own music and instruments, and sews some of their own clothes.
“We are extremely multi-talented,” Vinson said.
The group has been on the road for five and a half years.
Fat Kids Kitchen has been around longer and is a spin-off of a rainbow kitchen.
They call themselves Freegans, meaning they will eat anything.
“We love to eat,” Vinson said.
Saying they see themselves as fresh, new-school hippies – Vinson said they “are just doing our thing in the same spirit. This is how we do it.”
Jacob Mauer, the youngest of the tribe at 20, said they are often seen as depression-era gypsies.
“We are just the evolving of that,” Vinson said.
The group is fairly low tech by today’s standards – equipped with a few cell phones, a lap top computer and a GPS system. One of the girls writes on an old-timey typewriter.
The group says they are not really hippies. They just resist being hemmed in.
Some of the cast of characters other than the two mentioned above are One-Legged-Matt, Lurch, Raye, Madison, Ohji, Chris and Tony.
Check out the web for a peek inside the bus by video.
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