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The C.O.B. Project

The C.O.B. Project's mission is to connect, educate and empower individuals through the building of community supported, earthen ovens. The project's vision is to promote sustainable community development by using the ovens as a platform for community based educational programs that are engaging, inspiring and transformative.

Sustainable Community Development

Sustainable Community Development is the building of just and resilient communities by improving the social, economic and ecological quality of living. The C.O.B. Project strives to meet these marks by cultivating personal awareness in individuals towards themselves, their community and their relationship with nature. An increase in personal awareness deepens an individual's connection to both themselves and the external world, which in turn, develops a clear understanding of what is needed for the individual, community and environment to thrive. The C.O.B. Project not only cultivates awareness but also provides individuals with tangible skills to make positive change in their own lives and in the health of their community. 

Building Connections

As social beings our instinct is to seek out relationships with others and build communities. Simply put, these social connections are important because they contribute the survival of our species, but with a wider view, we can see that these relationships provide us with a fundamental understanding of who we are and how to treat others. This is why at The C.O.B. Project we just don't build ovens, we build connections; believing that creating positive relationships is the best way to break down social and economic barriers. Once these barriers are removed, it is easier for individuals to see the commonality between each other; igniting deeper personal connections, compassion and a desire to be of service to others in need.  

The Earth Oven Connection

From simple pit fires in the ground, to the adobe "hornos" of the Southwest, people have been using earth ovens in their communities since the beginning of baking. Early on, humans discovered that the ground where they built fires stayed warm even after the fire was gone. This is because earth makes an excellent thermal mass, meaning it absorbs and stores heat very well. This absorption, storing and releasing of heat from the fire, allowed people to cook their foods better while using less resources in the process. People also noticed, where there was clay present in the soil, they could shape the earth to optimize the performance of their simple ovens. Overtime, the ovens became extremely efficient which revolutionized baking and marked as crucial turning point in the evolution of mankind. While there are many benefits to building ovens out of  earth, The C.O.B. Project believes that this connection to the past as well as nature, is empowering in understanding ourselves and the world around us.

Building with Earth

The C.O.B. Project promotes building with earth because of it's accessibility and natural qualities. Earth (clay rich soil), as a building material, is readily available, affordable, easy to work with and environmentally friendly. There is an intuitive nature to working with earth which allows everyone to be a builder no matter their age, strength or experience. This intuitive nature also facilitates an internal connection as you respond to the shaping of the earth in your hand. Since earth is an innately grounding material and working with it strengthen muscle groups, earth building also promote a healthier state of being, both physically and mentally. Finally, depending on the clay content of the soil, earth can be sculpted; allowing any project to be filled with raw creativity and artistic expression.

Baking and Cooking with Fire

 Fire and the evolution of mankind go hand in hand. the knowledge of fire was essential for basic survival; providing warmth, safety, and nourishment. To this day, fire is still used to satisfy those essential needs, so it is no surprise that people find comfort around it. Wether it be candles, fireplaces, campfires or bbq grills, people are drawn to fire because of a primal connection that is embedded with in our DNA. This primal connection is why The C.O.B. Project believes that wood-fired ovens are great tools in helping people to connect with themselves, others and to nature. With this said, The C.O.B. Project is well aware of the environmental impact that fire might have, from wildfires to carbon emissions, and strives to build efficient, safe ovens. In fact, a well built oven can burns wood very clean, producing very little smoke while not require a lot of wood to get hot. Plus, a well built oven will store the heat from the fire in the thermal mass of the oven walls and floor, allowing you to bake and cook for hours if not days without any fire in the oven at all. 

Cultivating Awareness

While the old saying "we are what we eat"  is not to be taken literal, it is easy to see the effect that a person's diet has on them. With this said, there is more to our nutritional health than just eating healthy food and we need to realize that our relationship to food is as equally important. Most people are unaware that we are impacted physically, mentally and emotionally by the way we consume our food, which can effect how individuals thrive in life. The C.O.B. Project explores the relationship between the "What", "Where", "Why" and "How" of food consumption and how these factors play a role in not only how we think about food but how we think about ourselves. Cultivating an awareness around our food consumption and how we function can be very empowering, giving individuals the tools to live their lives to the fullest capacity. Most importantly, this awareness around what we as individuals need to thrive is the first step to understanding of what other people and our environment need to thrive as well; serving as a fundamental building block in the foundation of a sustainable community.

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