sharing food/water as a solo camper - well intended, ill conceived?

What do you eat and drink on the playa? Share ideas, recipes and advice here.
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sixart
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sharing food/water as a solo camper - well intended, ill conceived?

Post by sixart » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:27 pm

this will be my first Burn so I am still getting my bearings and seeking feedback and wisdom. Along with other contributions, I plan to bring a 85w water cooler and plenty plenty of water to share which I will fill in Gerlach. I plan to invest in a generator that isn't loud to power the cooler as much as it makes sense to (not sure how often it will need to draw and run to keep it cool, also depends on demand, most likely won't run it at all at night). I want to make big signs that indicate self-serve bring-your-own-container hydration. I am passionate about people's safety and health in regards to hydration :coffee: :mrgreen:

the other piece is a recent passion of mine, living simply off of oatmeal and lentils. Since I'll have water and could invest in a stable propane setup, I could make myself and any playa residents food. I prefer longer cooking oatmeal and lentils, so I'm wondering if that will be a problem of no big deal as long as it is safely attended to. I also wonder if anyone would be interested in something like this or if it would be redundant as a solo-camper to offer. I like to dress the oatmeal up with brown sugar, vanilla and almond extract, and goji berries, and if I get positive feedback I may bring other fixings for people. I like to spice the lentils with an Ethiopian berbere spice mix that is delicious. I'd be happy to spread the lentil fandom as they are the best price-to-protein ratio and as far as I'm aware cruelty free!

if I get positive feedback on the food, I plan to invest in some sturdy metal bowls and metalware that I could clean and boil to sterilize. I need to sort out wastewater and have already cribbed this to research further - "evaporation pond for cleansing overflow water" - how do other burners sort out dishes?

the last bit, and I'm getting into lala-land now, is I'm planning to bring a bunch of different instruments (ukulele, guitar, two tambourines, a small cajon, keytar synth, two pocket drum machines, and a SMALL amp (JBL clip 2). I wonder if some spontaneous amateur music and play could happen at the hydration/nutrition station, but I may have to find the music for that kind of scene

all feedback welcome, hope to see you all there~

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BBadger
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Re: sharing food/water as a solo camper - well intended, ill conceived?

Post by BBadger » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:34 pm

So for both of those ideas (gifting food or water) you'll need to get the proper permits. It probably feels like overkill but it prevents people from accidentally food-poisoning many people (or at least avoids liability).

These are good ambitious ideas, but may be a bit to pull off as a solo, first-year burner.

Some things to consider:
  • You need the handlers permit above for both food and water.
  • Remember to use a heavy base or guylines or something to keep the water cooler from tipping over in the wind.
  • You need something to prevent spilled water from reaching the playa directly if someone doesn't properly use the dispenser.
  • Water is heavy, and if you're camping solo you could possibly injure yourself moving large quantities of water around. It'll also produce a lot of weight on your transportation.
  • Lock the water bottles so people don't walk off with them. I know, it sounds paranoid, but if you have these stacked up nearby, some people might nab them.
  • When preparing large amounts of food, keeping everything sanitary, and cleaning up afterwards is a huge chore, even for many people. Make sure you're actually ready for this. Use soap, water, an not just spray on sanitizer.
  • Gerlach is kind of expensive for water (though maybe it'll pay for itself in gas?) There are other places that sell water too (Empire?), though I can't remember exactly.
  • Use a spill guard when refilling your bottles.
  • Provide some shade for your cooler and stuff for people to hang out under.
You might consider just bringing the water cooler. That would be pretty neat and people would appreciate that. You could even add some tables, a non-MOOPy fake office plant, or a white board with graphs and markers (people can write their own stuff too) or something for "water cooler conversations" near your cooler. Make sure to light it up at night too.
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Re: sharing food/water as a solo camper - well intended, ill conceived?

Post by asr9754 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:01 pm

If you are just making friends on the playa and hanging out at your site and you offer them food and drink casually, you don't need the permit (But obviously still you should follow common sense santitation).

If you are setting up a food/water "station" where you are actively offering food and drink to passersby, then you get into the permit territory. It may seem like a tricky gray area if it's your first burn and it is somewhat a gray area but food sanitation is a respectable issue and they do have inspectors roving about.

May I suggest going with the former idea (making friends and offering them snacks as friends do) versus a food-gifting "operation" for the masses. Since it's your first time, so you don't overwhelm yourself. Or if you're all gung-ho, prove me wrong and do the whole permit and make a kickass lentil camp for your first time! Very impressive!

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Re: sharing food/water as a solo camper - well intended, ill conceived?

Post by Sham » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:29 pm

Welcome to eplaya and the world of Burning Man.
If I may offer up my generic advice for first timers, I hope you will listen.
I suggest that you come and enjoy the event. Don't try to go crazy gifting things and going overboard.
You may find that the event is very different than you are imagining it is. It may be better--but different.
Prepare the best you can, and read the links in my signature below.
Come with an open mind, a bicycle and lots of food and supplies for yourself. Be willing to help others and just soak in the surrounding for the week.
The water and the food that is to be gifted may be much too ambitious for old timers, a first timer may find themselves totally constrained by it.
You can do what you wish, but remember you'll need that permit as mentioned above.
See you in the dust.

Sham....

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Re: sharing food/water as a solo camper - well intended, ill conceived?

Post by sixart » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:32 am

thanks for the replies - there's relief in my cool hydration station being enough, and I appreciate that it could run mostly idle.

the permit advice is just so, and I wonder the borderline between an operation and a shared commodity. I think with oatmeal and lentils it may make more sense to make a big batch and bicycle it around to distribute. If that sounds lovely (spontaneous oatmeal splot-off in the morning) maybe I won't sweat it and let whatever food sharing be less driven/intentional with my water and other contributions being enough

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Re: sharing food/water as a solo camper - well intended, ill conceived?

Post by trilobyte » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:54 am

To be perfectly clear, if you are planning to bring and offer food to people who are not in your camp, you will need to obtain a food permit. Water could also be an issue, that depends on containers and source - if it's coming from either packaged sources or a permitted provider that's usually good enough for the health department - you can check with them by calling or sending them an email. You have until the 16th to submit your application, I believe, and once accepted you'd need to pick up paperwork on the playa and they'd inspect your setup.

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Re: sharing food/water as a solo camper - well intended, ill conceived?

Post by Token » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:07 am

Sixart,

Don't mean to burst your bubble of enthusiasm, but here is good old hard fact and a personal stinking opinion.

The fact:

Everyone has water. Everyone hydrates. Water is not a high demand commodity.

Ice cold PBR, maybe, but some like it lukewarm as well.

The stinking opinion:

Most people lose their appetite out there and lentils or oatmeal are not terribly exciting.

There is a long standing tradition of Bacon, Pickles, Olives ... things salty, full of omega acids, brines and fermentations.

Point is, you may do a ton of work, bring a crap ton of stuff, then find out you get little interest.

The golden advice Sham gave is just that, Golden!

Use the first year to learn the ropes and take care of you. Don't burden your experience the first go on the ride. That's what next year is for.

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Re: sharing food/water as a solo camper - well intended, ill conceived?

Post by sixart » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:48 am

awesome guidance! Thank you - I will simplify my op although I'm a total cold-water horse so I'll see about permits and equipment and if it's worth a bother. I have plenty of other things to share but H2O is primal

I like how the culture is already having me think less conventionally about needs, sharing, and what I could offer

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Re: sharing food/water as a solo camper - well intended, ill conceived?

Post by dandymonkey » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:21 am

Hey,
We serve alcoholic beverages every year, and every year I get nervous that the food/drink rules change. But no permit is required.
A useful link to use is...
http://dpbh.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/dpbh.n ... de2017.pdf

To be granular: with margaritas and limes, you can provide a whole uncut lime. The knife that cuts it is what comes into question and requires a permit.

the pdf from the website states:
[b]Questions: What food will not
require a permit?[/b]
Answer:
• Alcoholic beverages: Beer, wine,
liquor.
• Commercially prepared, unopened
single serving packages that are not
refrigerated: chips, candy, soda,
bottled water, packaged nuts.
[b]• Whole uncut fruits.[/b]
• Powdered drink packages mixed
with water only WITHOUT dairy or
ice: coffee, tea, hot chocolate,
lemonade, PowerAde.
• Shelf-stable commercially prepared
beverages such as orange juice or
lemonade WITHOUT ice.
• Commercially prepared, unopened
popsicles, ice cream bars.

By the way- We don't serve margaritas. Just beer, mead, and Vodka based drinks.

Honey Puddle 2017- Ceremony and 5:15- visit us!
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Re: sharing food/water as a solo camper - well intended, ill conceived?

Post by Zubeneschamali » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:33 pm

Every year I bring enough water to cover myself for a week + a % over for sharing & safety net. Every year I drive out with extra water. I'd love to gift it to DPW on the way out but they don't want extra water. So I drive my water in a 700 mile loop. I will probably return this year with gallons of unused water cause I'm obsessive compulsive and can't plan for shit.

One year I forgot and left the water pump on in my RV and the outside shower was unsecured. When I got back into camp my water tank was 3/4 empty and the RV was sitting in a pool of water. Someone used the shower and left the valve slightly open. Guess who was at fault? Me. I took the screw when the Earth Guardians wanted to yell about it.

Lessons learned, my friend. Lessons learned.

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Re: sharing food/water as a solo camper - well intended, ill conceived?

Post by GreyCoyote » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:28 pm

There is excellent advice in this thread. I just want to underscore the issue of changing taste.

I absolutely love oatmeal in Defaultia. LOVE IT. But on the playa I wont touch it. Gack! My body wants , needs, CRAVES salt. Pork sausage (with salt). Eggs (with salt). Watermelon (with salt). Spam (with EXTRA salt). Salt (with salt). Are you seeing a pattern here? :)

The other things I crave are fats and protein. Seriously. I'm a carb monster at home but I dont give two shits for it on the playa. Meh. Cereal. Nom: Bacon!

Want to be a legend? Serve some cold watermelon with a big salt shaker about 2 PM on Thursday. Stick it on a big platter and wander around. Rockstar! You wont make it 100 feet before you get mobbed. Same with pickles (brined pickles, not the swill from Walmart. Ask Mod Eric for his famous recipe. Totally fooking NOMS and you can DIY!!!)

You'll have to experience this shifting effect to really understand it, so report back after the event and let us know what your cravings did.
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