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In the religion of the ancient Greeks, Iris was the goddess of the rainbow.
Overboard, Vinny Newman, Isaac McGuinness and Nada started Iris Kitchen at the Ocala regional gathering in Florida in 2004, with members and equipment from the Ananda and Co-op Kitchens of the late ‘90s and early 2000s. At their first gathering they built a bamboo and tarp geodesic “Om Dome”, 20 feet high and 30 feet in diameter. It seated several hundred people during their talent show, poetry night and improv comedy show. Their first annual was West Virginia in 2005, where they happened to arrive just as the people who had been evicted by the Forest Service from the first site were starting to leave, making them the first to set up at the second site at Cranberry Glade and the only kitchen feeding the whole gathering for a few days.
For the following four years they set up only at the Ocala gathering, where they often served as a kid’s camp, attracting families. In 2006 the kitchen set up with Granola Funk, where a classically trained pianist played on a leopard print, upright piano.
Due to vehicle issues, Iris only built the kitchen in Ocala and Georgia in 2011, but its cooks and crew helped out with kitchens at the Apalachicola, Cumberland, Heartland, and Colorado regionals and the Washington annual. In 2012, Iris served at regional gatherings in Ocala and Georgia and the annual gathering in Tennessee, where they had gluten/allergen-free side kitchen, and in 2013 they went to Ocala and the Montana annual.
They usually have a heart-shaped bliss pit that they encourage music around, and at some gatherings they have been known to create living room type furniture out of downed logs.. They like to create specialty food like meatless sushi rolls, Greek salad, and Indian food. They strive to be a very open kitchen, friendly to families and folks new to Rainbow.