Kitchen Mini Manual And Sanitation Guidelines For Public Assemblies


Rainbow Gatherings are pure examples of People coming together in Constitutionally-guaranteed free, non-commercial public assemblies. Thousands of Individuals gather together to exercise their rights of free assembly, speech and religion (pray for peace, celebrate life and freedom)

To experiment with cooperative living as manifested through an Interdependence with all life forms and the Earth, to experiment with an alternative political system (consensus and direct involvement rather than majority and representation), to network and socialize. Within Rainbow are individuals who belong to numerous and diverse private groups, but are NOT a private group by any stretch of the imagi-Nation.


The work you have in your hands is a Cooperative effort by Individuals across the country via land(local Rainbow Circles), phone and cyberspace. Their collective knowledge and experience of Gatherings, Rainbow Kitchens, Health, Safety, Sanitation, Food Service Industry, Security and Peace Keeping all combined is well over 100 years. Like Rainbow there is no authoritarian hierarchy here. It works because a variety of unrelated/unassociated individuals pooled their diverse and particular talents/knowledge to make it. Ignore All Rumors of Organization. Embrace All rumors of Cooperation by Individuals, not a Group.

PART I (The Minimal)


Water-borne organisms such as giardia, cryptosporidium, e. coli and other pathogens brought to the food by insects, dust and hands are the main reasons people get sick when in primitive conditions.


Folks, this is critical. It doesn't do much good to purify your water if your hands are contaminating the water you purify or the food you cook and serve. Most cases of "food poisoning" are a direct result of improper food handling by kitchen workers with unclean hands.

Hand washing is the single most important procedure for preventing the spread of infections, by far the most important thing to understand about serving the public. For everyone's sake, please consider hand-washing to be SACRED. Hand washing is defined as a vigorous, brief rubbing together of all surfaces of lathered hands, followed by rinsing under a stream of water as described below:

  1. Wash hands in soapy water, including top, bottom, sides, in between fingers and under nails.
  2. Rinse the soap off.
  3. Then re-rinse them in a bleach solution.
  4. Allow your hands to air dry! (By Shaking and Never Wiping)


Although freshly laundered clothes in a field/primitive setting isn=B9t always practical or possible, the cleanest items available should be worn whenever preparing or serving food.

In alternative settings where nudity is accepted, anyone in the kitchen is reminded to cover the groin area. Long hair may be contained in any manner that suits you, be it pony tail, braids, scarves or caps.


Anyone with a potentially communicable illness should Not be in the kitchen and it is up to the crew to keep track of who/what is coming and going around the food.

What to watch for: coughing, sneezing, open cuts, wounds, open (oozing or weeping) sores. Consider the weakest person because we do know the strongest will be fine. Please take care of yourself and others.


Kitchens need lots of purified water to cook with, wash fresh fruit and vegetables in, and to drink. Filtering is the most efficient method to produce this water and is the preferred method of the experienced folks who wrote this manual. Whatever filter is used must remove Volatile Organic Compounds, Giardia and Cryptosporidium cysts and some bacteria. (see part II for a complete discussion) Examples of different filter systems can be seen at some kitchens.

Boiling Water is another way to purify it. Bring a covered pot of water to a hard, rapid rolling boil and maintain the boil for 10 minutes. When the boiling begins ask a smoker to sit and roll a cigarette and smoke it or have a long leisurely beverage break while watching it boil until at least 10 minutes has probably passed. Keep the cover on while it cools! If storing purified water in a different container, use one recently, thoroughly sanitized. Take care to turn the lid upside down when removing and not touch or place the part that covers the water on anything else.

Don't try any shortcuts. The few minutes you spend purifying your water may save you, or those you love, weeks of illness.

Chemical purification doesn't kill all of the germs that make you sick, is tricky and can be dangerous.


The proportions for bleach rinses (external use only-do not drink) are based on using 5.25% household bleach. Not all brands of these bleaches are equal. Most of the brand names bleaches are 5.25%

To make a bleach water rinse to use for sterilizing hands, dishes, pots, pans and utensils, use 1 Tablespoon 5.25% bleach per 1 Gallon of water. See Part II for a complete discussion.

Very few bleach bottle caps equal a tablespoon measure. Tip: Fasten a measuring spoon to the bleach bottle with a piece of string.

Heat inactivates bleach and in very cold water it takes longer to work. The impact of bleach on the environment isn't near the impact of sick people.


Soaps that contain Ammonia should not be used with chlorine bleach. It is a toxic combination. Labels can be checked for Ammonia or a Warning on the back, if it is unsafe to use with bleach.

Too much soap residue left on washed dishes can also cause diarrhea, if not rinsed well.


The ideal hand wash station would be foot pedal operated. Most hand wash stations use an empty water jug. The one gallon size with holes punched in the top to make a sprinkler is the most common. 2.5 gallon water containers with holes cut in the top and spigots also make good hand wash containers. (Clean the spigot with bleach water frequently.) Any hand wash jug from a latrine is refilled outside of the kitchen area to prevent possible contamination. If you provide bar soap at your wash station, keep it in a container with drain holes in the bottom.

The ideal Dish Wash Station for use in the wilderness hasn't been invented yet but the foot pedal model is preferred by many.

The most common method used in kitchens is the 3 bucket system starting from left to right:

1-warm soapy wash water, 2-warm water rinse 3-final cool water bleach rinse. An expanded version uses a 5 bucket system: 1-compost 2-prerinse 3-soapy wash 4-clear rinse 5-final bleach dip

Get buckets up off of ground to keep animals and small kids out of them. Monitor the water and change it when it gets full of grease and food residue. If the first rinse used in the beginning is leaving a lot of suds, dilute the wash water so you don't have to change the rinse waters as often.

Tip: Get wash station ready before preparing food. That way you can wash kitchen utensils as you go and It can be refreshed quickly when ready to serve.


Bleach water rinse followed by air drying is the best and simplest way to effectively sanitize pots, pans and utensils.

Boiling water if items are submersed for 10 minutes is another way.


Cleanup begins the day you choose the site for your kitchen. You will need a place to accumulate trash and recyclable items that is away from the food preparation and serving areas and that is not easily reached by the public.

Strongly encourage everyone to =B3Pack it out if you pack it in.=B2 Try to get people to pack out trash as soon as a bag is full. Don=B9t be shy. Many people will be glad to help if you will tell them what needs doing!


The advantage to setting a perimeter is it enables kids, adults and even dogs to understand this is an area of intense activity best kept cleared of all other activity, non-essential persons and animals. This helps to keep the area clear during increased activity because it poses a hazard to the crew when handling large pots of hot food.

It also helps keep the kitchen clean and reduces risks of infections from unknown sources. The rails should be kept clear of personal clothing and bedding to minimize the potential spread of infections.

Tip: use rails to hang artwork(tydysheets/banners) and establish a drying area for folks to use away from the kitchen.

TIP: Keep kitchen tools (shovels, rakes, picks, etc) outside of the controlled access area. Mark them with your kitchen name. Some think that marking and setting aside those used for shitter maintenance is also a good idea.


It is important to keep food preparation off the ground on its own table. Prep tables should be covered when not in use. After use, they should be washed with soapy water, rinsed of soap, rinsed again with bleach water and then allowed to air dry! This should be repeated if it=B9s been a long time since last use. It is important to keep the food preparation table free of personal items at all times.

Dry foods and liquids (beans, rice, flour, herbs; oils, sauces, beverages) are best kept in rodent proof containers with lids. Fresh produce should be kept off the ground, preferably in such a way that air can circulate and covered with netting if possible. Some just hang the food from trees.

Tip: A circle of fresh or fresh dried mint leaves around storage area can help keep mice out of supply tents.


When serving people have them hold their personal bowl or cup near the edge but not touching or directly over the serving container. This is to avoid any food running down the potentially contaminated sides of the dish and back into the serving container.

The food or beverage should be poured or flipped or dumped into the personal dishes without touching the serving equipment to the personal equipment. Some kitchens use a plastic funnel with the bottom cut out to facilitate getting the food into the narrow cups many bring to the serving line. (being careful not to touch the funnel to the personal bowl/cup)

Serving container should be kept covered when not serving and the serving utensil should be kept in a different container than the cooling food because organisms will travel down the handle into the pot. Once there they can then multiply in the friendly environment of warm food cooling down. Cover prepared foods already cooked to keep out contaminants. When taste testing food for seasoning, drop a sample into a personal bowl and avoid tasting off of the cooking/serving utensil directly.

Cooked food with tomatoes, vinegar or peppers will keep fairly well. Other cooked foods do not keep well without refrigeration. Rice and beans, in particular, can produce toxins that are not killed by reheating. Prepared foods, raw or cooked, should be served promptly.


Kitchen-waste pits must be close to the kitchen for any number of reasons.

Clearly mark both pits and make them safe, to prevent children from playing in them or people falling in them. They must be watched by the kitchen and will need a thin layer of lime applied from time to time.

Remember with these pits, as with shitters, it's important to close them down before they are too full, which means around 10-12 inches from the top When filling them in to cover and mound the dirt up above surrounding ground for the settling where the pits had been.


Each kitchen should maintain a shitter which must be located at least 50 yards from the kitchen and 250 feet from any springs or surface water. Whenever possible your kitchen should be at least 250 feet from any creeks, springs, rivers, ponds, etc. The 50 yard rule is an absolute minimum.

Shitter maintenance means keep it supplied with(not agricultural) "quick" lime in a sprinkling can, ashes, protected toilet paper(in coffee cans) and a bleach hand wash. Check and refill: the lime jar, toilet paper, hand wash and applying a thin layer of lime to stop flies from landing on it.

Remember the the Feces-Fly-Food-You connection and Break the cycle.

It is time to close the latrine when waste material is about 12 inches from the top and dig a new one. Fill the shitters in with dirt and mound it about 6-8 inches above surrounding ground, so a depression is not left when the dirt settles.


Piss wherever you are when you get the urge, except don't urinate on main paths or in kitchens. Try to avoid pissing in the same place all the time. Do not pee in the shitter.


Spit anywhere you want except in the kitchen or on main trail and cover your spit. There has been an increase in antibiotic resistant TB. It can be transmitted to us when dried and carried in the dust we inhale.


Each Kitchen should have a well-stocked first aid kit and must keep sufficient quantities of Rainbow Koolaide or an oral rehdyration fluid. There is a better listing of first aid needs in it's own section (Part III), including recipe's for drinks, expanded kit supplies, traditional and alternative treatments of some common problems.

For the minimal or basic needs of a first aid kit should include: hydrogen 3% peroxide, rubbing alcohol, tweezers, anti-infection ointment, soothing burn ointment/spray, a small bottle or container set aside of purified or sterile water to flush eyes, matches, band aides, 3x3 gauze pads, gauze roll, tape, and scissors.

The above was written and consensed to by a circle of concerned and experienced Individuals calling themselves Rainbow folks comprised of volunteers from several Rainbow Kitchens, CALM, Licensed Medical Professionals, Food Service and Shanti Sena.