Seeds Community Cafe, Part I

When I saw Lyn Harwell, the driving force behind Seeds Community Cafe , I said, “Lyn, I would like to shake your hand.  I was skeptical when you explained this idea to me last year, but you’ve made it happen and it’s an amazing place!”

Lyn reached out his hand and said, “Funny, I was just talking to Mark Henry of The Meat Locker and he said, ‘You know Lyn, I thought you were nuts for a while'”.

I suppose that’s how it is with visionaries.

Seeds is a “Community Cafe”, which means that anyone can eat there, including people who can’t pay the full price.

The cafe is bright and welcoming.

The cafe is bright and welcoming.

I had come in at the invitation of Ami Heath, the Cafe Manager, who also happens to be Miss Ami of Miss Ami’s Kitchen.  She set up an interview for me with Beth Alexander, their Catering and Events Manager, and Amy LaFaver who is in charge of Volunteer Recruitment and also Development Director.

First things first ... Lunch!

First things first … Lunch!

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect or what to do when I got there.  I’m going to describe the experience now for those of you who may also be wondering.

First, I chose an entree and a salad from the menu you see above.  Easy enough, right?  Well, actually not so easy since everything sounds good!

I went with the calabacitas (with Ranch Foods Direct beef) and the field greens.

I went with the calabacitas (with Ranch Foods Direct beef) and the field greens.

Ami gave me a number to take to my table.  Then we arrived at the part I was most concerned about.

“The suggested donation for lunch is $8.50,” she explained.  “Now you decide what you want to pay.  Some people pay a little extra, paying it forward to help others, and others pay what they can.”

I had also ordered dessert, for which they suggest $1 - $5, depending on how much pie you want.

I had also ordered dessert, for which they suggest $1 – $5, depending on how much pie you want.

I froze.  I think it’s really important to pay what something is worth, but usually the vendor just tells me what it’s worth.  Now I had to do some arithmetic on the fly, with people watching.

I handed Ami $15.  “Is that right?”, I asked awkwardly.  “You paid it forward!”, she said, smiling.

I relaxed and went to get a cup of coffee, which is included with the meal.

We had a wonderful lunch!  The food is amazing and the people are friendly.  All the desserts are made by local bakers and the Cafe strives to get as much locally produced food as possible.

Many of the people working in the Cafe are volunteers.  If you can’t pay for your meal, you can do volunteer work in exchange instead.  Part of Seed’s mission is to offer people work experience.  It’s “Help up, not a hand-out,” Beth told me.  Lots of people volunteer simply to get work experience, including students from our local colleges.

I have more to say about this inspiring place, but first, I recommend heading over there to try it.

I have more to say about this inspiring place, but first, I recommend heading over there to try it.

Seeds is open from 10 AM – 2:30 PM, Monday – Saturday, right behind Josh & John’s on Pikes Peak Ave.  In Part II, I’ll tell you more about what they do, including an inspiring story about a young volunteer.

And in the meantime, go try it!

(Click here for Part II!)

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Comments

Seeds Community Cafe, Part I — 1 Comment

  1. This is the smartest and most sensible idea I’ve ever heard of. I can’t wait to go and ‘pay it forward’. Thanks, Bonnie. I never would have heard about this without your newsletter.

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