The Community Cafe Movement
The concept began in 2003 when owner Denise Cerreta had an epiphany to serve delicious, healthy, locally-grown food; let people choose their own portions; and let them price those portions themselves. Since then, she’s gained local, national and world-wide notoriety for her “pay-what-you-can” pricing, seasonal and organic menu, living wages, minimal food waste, and healthy meals that are within everyone’s reach.
By encouraging people to enjoy a meal together, Cerreta is attempting to help people see the value of food as more than a mere consumable but rather, as a glue and a catalyst for healthy people, relationships, and communities. Customers are able to seat themselves in a relaxed atmosphere that is conducive to conversation. Because customers choose their own prices, their portions tend to be more mindful, reflect what they will actually want to eat, with the result being little or no food waste.
Philosophy meets business through Cerreta’s desire to support the living wage,as well as provide volunteer options for those who would prefer a “hand up” rather than a hand out. For every hour someone gives, they can receive a voucher for a full meal and learn a skill in the food service industry that may lead to future employment. Many people volunteer because they love the concept and want to give back to their community. Along the way, friends are made and people tend to meet and mix with folks they would normally not sit down and break bread with.
One World Everybody Eats (OWEE) Vision Statement
All cafes agreed to follow these 7 principles…
Patrons choose portion sizes.
Staff get paid living wage.
Serve fresh local/organic food.
Volunteer in exchange for a meal.
Use volunteers to greatest extent.
Community table and engagement.
Currently, there are over 60 community cafés operating in the US and abroad.
Here are just a few:
JBJ (John Bon Jovi) Soul Kitchen, Red Bank, NJ. www.jbjsoulkitchen.org
SAME Café, Denver, CO. www.soallmayeat.org
The Mustard Seed, El Paso, TX. www.mustardseedcafe.org
ComeUnity Café, Jackson, TN. www.comeunitycafe.com
F.A.R.M. Café, Boone, NC. www.farmcafe.org
Five 80 Coffee House, Enid, OK. www.facebook.com/Five80CoffeeHouse
Café 180, Englewood, CO. www.cafe-180.org
Our Community Kitchen, Stillwater, MN. www.ourcommunitykitchen.org
One Bistro, Miamisburg, OH. www.onebistro.org
One Acre Café, Johnson City, TN. www.oneacrecafe.org
Vimala’s Curlyblossom Café, Chapel Hill, NC. www.curryblossom.com
Tricklebee Cafe, Milwaukee, WI www.tricklebeecafe.org