The Seasoned Spoon Café is thrilled to be celebrating its 15th year of growing sustainable, just, and inclusive food systems at Trent University. To celebrate this momentous occasion, a day of festivities has been planned for Mar. 9, in Champlain College on the West Bank of Trent University. Daytime activities will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. in the café space, including workshops, a collaborative art installation, spoon carving, tours, and by-donation soup. In the evening, celebrations will move to the Great Hall for a community feast, story sharing and a panel discussion. All activities will be offered on a by-donation basis. Everyone is welcome to all events; however, registration is required for the dinner.
If you are not yet familiar with the Seasoned Spoon, this just may be the perfect occasion to discover what you have been missing out on all this time. Tucked away in Champlain College, the Spoon occupies a cozy nook with colorful tablecloths, comfy couches, good coffee and a scenic view of the Otonabee river. Here you will find a warm, friendly community of people mowing down on ethically sourced food, reading, working, hosting meetings and study groups, or engaging in lively conversation. This vibrant and diverse space has long acted as a community hub on campus, and a cooperative college space where everyone is welcome.
It’s hard to believe that the Spoon has evolved from its grassroots origins as a Stone Soup Project serving by-donation soup every other week in the hallways of Trent to the dynamic cooperative café and not-for-profit community organization it is today. The Stone soup project was run by students from an OPIRG food issues group and was formed as an act of resistance to the food service monopoly that Aramark held at the time. The idea was to offer staff and students more diverse choices as well as food for thought about the prevailing institutional food policies. As the initiative grew, a Board of Directors was elected to represent members and the seeds of the Seasoned Spoon cooperative were planted. Today The Spoon has 22 staff, dozens of volunteers, and over 500 cooperative members, and it provides hundreds of people with access to affordable local foods every day. The Spoon also offers an abundance of opportunities to learn about how to grow, cook, and preserve, and how to advocate for sustainable, just, and inclusive food.
“It’s incredible to think we have already come this far on our journey as an organization and an inspiring moment in time to pause and look back at everything that has been built along the way. We couldn’t have accomplished this achievement without our members, staff, volunteers, eaters, growers, community partners, good food advocates, and everyone else who has been such an integral part of carrying out the Spoon’s mandate over the years. We are extremely grateful for the support we have received and look forward to celebrating with our extended Spoon family,” Aimee Blyth, General Manager of the Spoon said.
The 15th anniversary aims to highlight various elements of the work that the Spoon carries out in the community. Education, accessibility and community are essential principles at the Seasoned Spoon and you will see these elements at play throughout the day with opportunities for learning, interactive community activities, and delicious local foods offered on a by-donation basis. While serving sustainably sourced, affordable foods is at the core of the Spoon’s mission, providing popular education opportunities and hands-on experiences to dig deeper into the food system are equally as important. It is for this reason that the Spoon offers extensive volunteer programming, weekly workshops, student research projects, community meals, film screenings, speakers and celebrations on a regular basis.
The Spoon is honoured to have had the opportunity to work with so many people over the years and is proud of their strong community connections with local farmers, businesses and community organizations. Looking back during this historical moment, it is humbling to reflect on some pivotal moments of the Spoon’s growth including the grand opening in Champlain College in February of 2003: and a partnership with the Trent Vegetable Gardens in 2006 that allowed a campus field-to-table food system to be born. Other noteworthy events include the completion the root cellar in 2012 which extended the ability to offer seasonal foods all year round: and the joining of the residential meal plan in 2016 that enabled the Spoon to provide healthy local food to thousands more students each year. As we celebrate 15 years of spooning at Trent, we also look toward to the future, planting the seeds for what another 15 years of growth may bring.
For more information about The Seasoned Spoon Café, please visit www.seasonedspoon.ca.