I’ve written before about tool libraries, community-based lending centers where you can borrow power drills, nail guns, and other home improvement items large and small. But kitchen tool libraries? As noted by TreeHugger, Portland, Ore. — a green-minded metropolis where you can already borrow a tile saw in just about every section of the city (North Portland, Northeast Portland, Southeast Portland) — may soon get its own cookery-focused tool lending library in the form of the Southeast Portland Community Kitchen Tool Library. Just don’t tell Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen.

You’d probably just assume that it would be easier to cut through any bureaucracy and opt to borrow a latte whip, rice steamer, or bread maker from a neighbor with a well-stocked kitchen. However, keep in mind that not everyone lives next door to Ina Garten (or Robin Shreeves) and besides, it seems to me that folks are a touch more protective over kitchen appliances than they are over rough n' tumble power tools. They’re special.

Knock Knock. "Hey there, Janice. Long time, no see. I heard through the grapevine that you happen to have a pressure cooker and a deep fryer. Mind if I borrow them for a couple of days?"

"I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I’m really sorry but I don’t have either of those things. Have you tried Bed Bath & Beyond?" Hands begin to quiver and beads of perspiration begin to form on forehead. Shuts door.

As pointed out by TreeHugger, The SE Portland Community Kitchen Tool Library was inspired by an existing service, North Portland Preserve and Serve, which is a touch different from most tool libraries in that members pay a small fee to join, reserve gear online, and also leave a suggested donation to cover upkeep. And as its name suggests, North Portland Preserve and Serve is mostly canning-centric, "dedicated to fostering sustainability through the focus of home food preservation, waste reduction and reuse." From the sounds of it, the SE Portland Community Kitchen Tool Library will have appliances for all sorts of uses (popcorn poppers!) and not just canning accoutrement.

With the season of high cookery just around the corner, is joining the collaborative consumption movement by signing on at a kitchen tool library something that you’d ever consider? Anyone out there already belong to a home improvement tool lending library?


Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

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