Seeds Community Café
will be soft opening sometime next week, says organizer Lyn Harwell
, with a grand opening scheduled for Monday, Sept. 16. Meanwhile, you can get a sneak peek at the space from 5:30 to 7:30 tomorrow night with the Colorado Springs Public Market Project
event. You can view the flier here:
I took a tour of the Seeds spaces (the separate catering arm and community space to follow the café opening) last Friday with Harwell. Here are some teasers for what's to come:
According to Harwell and volunteer coordinator Amy LaFaver
, Seeds will be about 80 percent volunteer driven, with openings for hosts, servers, cooks and baristas. The cafe's website
and Facebook page
will feature links to daily volunteer spots, they say.
"It's an opportunity to serve a healthy meal to people and engage them in great food, and to talk eye-to-eye with people," says Harwell. "It's really about loving the community and connecting them together to each other — people from different socioeconomic backgrounds where they can come converse as community should be — to reflect to our city what community can be."
LaFaver says she has been receiving eight to 10 volunteer requests per day for the last few months, which shows strong early interest in Seeds' mission.
Seeds has partnered with more than 50 local agencies and organizations to achieve the community cafe model that reaches out to underserved or marginalized individuals. One example would be the Department of Human Services
, says Harwell, who can engage such folks in need as single mothers who could bring their children in for a nutritious meal, perhaps rolling silverware afterward or bussing some tables in exchange for the food, versus having to pay cash.
Jess E. Hoffman
, sous chef for Seeds, will work with Future Pointe
to eliminate waste, by composting, recycling and even saving non-compostable food waste to feed animals at farms, he says, "creating a model for other restaurants."
Former Colorado Coffee Merchants employee Anne Blair
will be Seeds' operational manager, helping put the volunteers to work and also assisting catering coordinator Beth Alexander with the catering arm on site and at venues like The Carter Payne
and Jennifer Ryan
of The Mural Project of Colorado Springs
say their intent is to reach at-risk community members, engage them in the mural creation process and help them "realize healing through art."
Green — who referred to touching, breakthrough moments while working with "little thugs" during similar outreach he did years ago in Los Angeles — discussed the symbolism of handprints. They're a mark, not only of passage through a place, but also of blessing and signifying that you are part of something — in this case this community-minded project.
"It's a lot more than just, 'Let's put handprints on this, kids, won't it be fun.'"
In addition to this mural and two other mostly-complete ones, Green plans to add a mural of an Indian man plowing a field with two oxen. He describes his style as expressionist and very simple, often stemming from photos torn from books or magazines.
The downstairs patio at Seeds will seat around 20 people, while the dining room seats around 60. The upstairs banquet patio should fit somewhere in between.
Harwell credits building owner Chuck Murphy
for "substantial" contributions to Seeds launch, as well as entities like United Restaurant Supply, who has donated big-ticket items like refrigerators, a grill and dishware.
He projects his startup costs have thus far been around $30,000 considering the donations and volunteer time of the staff thus far. He imagines that number would have been well over $100,000 otherwise. He called the move-in "turnkey" for the most part, with mostly cosmetic upgrades and "very minor stuff from the health department."