It’s been an intense week. Perhaps you are arriving in a new city or making the leap into a university career. Maybe you are navigating a new campus with a plethora of activities and events to choose from — not to mention a huge list of clubs, groups and various projects to get involved in.

Starting university can be a bit of an overwhelming time. Perhaps you are searching for your niche, or maybe you are just trying to find some calm amongst the hustle bustle of orientation week activities. Whether you are looking for community, comfort, nourishment, a sense of belonging or an inclusive place to get involved, the Seasoned Spoon Café may just be the right place for you.

Tucked away in a cozy nook of Champlain College, the Seasoned Spoon is Trent’s only independent cooperative vegetarian café. Inside you’ll find colourful tablecloths, comfy couches, good coffee and a scenic view of the Otonabee river. This uniquely beautiful space is most often filled with a warm, friendly community of people mowing down on ethically sourced eats, reading, working, hosting meetings, holding study groups, or simply engaging in conversation. This vibrant and diverse space has long acted as a community hub on campus, and for many, a home away from home.

Inside the Seasoned Spoon Cafe. Photo courtesy of the Seasoned Spoon Cafe.

Perhaps it’s the inviting ambiance and the friendly faces, or maybe it’s the community connections and long-lasting friendships borne at the Spoon. For certain, it is in good part because of the nutritious, homestyle, made-from-scratch-with-love food on offer every day; The kind of food you won’t find anywhere else at Trent, and that hopefully reminds you of home (at least a little bit). Whatever the reason, many in the Trent community seem to find a place of reprieve, a sense of comfort and feeling of home-iness at the Seasoned Spoon that is unique on the Trent campus.

If you are a lover of food, you will be happy to find out that the Spoon boasts more than just fresh food made with whole ingredients. The Spoon’s food sourcing principles are rooted in our vision of a just and sustainable food system, and thus prioritize food which is locally, ecologically and ethically produced. One of our most important partners and producers, the Trent Vegetable Gardens, actually grow a large proportion of the produce served at the Spoon right here on campus! Campus-grown foods are pretty much as local as you can get and enable us to provide you with both the most healthy and affordable food options possible, addressing not just sustainability, but student food accessibility as well.

We invite you to come try it out for yourself and see if you discover a place reminiscent of home. The difference in flavour is palatable; even if you don’t usually fancy yourself an herbivore, we swear you will be impressed. After all, this food is so fresh and local, you can pick it from the field yourself. We’re not joking, you really can! The Seasoned Spoon and the Trent Vegetable Gardens take a hands-on approach to engaging with the entire ‘field to table’ food journey and offer lots of opportunities to get involved all the way from seed to plate.

Bagel-making in Seasoned Spoon Cafe. Photo courtesy of the Seasoned Spoon Cafe.

If you want to get your hands into the soil, there are lots of options for learning about small scale farming and ecological food production with the Trent Vegetable Gardens. Not able to make it out to the garden or perhaps a little dirt-shy? Not to worry, because the Spoon offers a diversity of education programming aimed at digging deeper into the food system and building life-long food skills. Why not join us for one of our weekly workshops on subjects such as food preservation, medicinal preparations, seasonal cooking or growing? Get involved and earn course credit at the same time by participating in a student research project or service learning placement at the Spoon. Feast with us during our pay-what-you-can community meals and stick around for an evening of fun food programming.

Still feeling a bit unsure or perhaps nervous to jump right in? We suggest signing up as a Spoon volunteer! Volunteering at the Spoon is sort of a tradition as Trent and a great way to meet new friends in the community. One of the best ways of learning is through doing, so if you’re eager to get into the kitchen, volunteering it’s where it’s at! Whether your interest is in eating, cooking, gardening, community building or simply a comfy place to hang out, we hope you will make the Seasoned Spoon Café your home away from home at Trent.

There lots of ways to get in touch with us and find out about the diversity of activities happening at the Spoon. Drop by the café from 8:00am – 3:30pm Mondays and Friday and 8:00am – 6:00pm Tuesdays – Thursdays. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; or go to our website to sign up for our newsletter to get all the most up to date event information straight to your inbox. Hope to see you soon!

Students eating in the Seasoned Spoon Cafe. Photo courtesy of the Seasoned Spoon Cafe.