One World Café heightens the food expectations of the non-profit world

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by Tricia Oliphant

Imagine a menu that offers so much variety it actually changes on a daily basis. You choose your portions and then pay what you are able or what you think your meal was worth. If you do not have money to buy a meal, you can volunteer an hour of your time and eat for free.  Those who serve your food are also the people who helped prepare it, allowing you to find an immediate answer to the age-old question “It looks good, but what’s in it?”

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Such is the organization of One World Café, a non-profit community café in downtown Salt Lake City.

Denise Cerreta founded One World Café in 2003. It is now part of several non-profit cafés nationwide that make up the One World Everybody Eats Foundation. The café provides delicious, healthy meals to all who desire to eat, regardless of their financial situation.

When I heard about this revolutionary idea of choosing my portions and what I wanted to pay for them, I was curious about how it worked. I decided to give it a try with a friend.

Upon entering the café, we immediately noticed the friendly atmosphere. We were greeted kindly by one of the cooks/servers who directed us to choose our plate size. Although we were only required to pay what we deemed fair, we did see price suggestions according to the size of plate written on a blackboard (small: $4 to $6, medium: $7 to $9, large: $10 to $12.)

Our server then described each of the dishes laid out in front of us, buffet style. The main dishes included sweet curry over brown rice, a unique asparagus quiche on a potato crust, and seasoned beef bursting with flavor.

An assortment of fresh salads complimented each of the main dishes, including a zesty marinated carrot and cucumber salad, and a wild rice salad with celery and tomato.

We tried a bit of everything. We also chose a drink from a selection of coffee, tea, soymilk, almond milk, or water.

The One World Café offers a cozy, “feel like you’re eating in your mother’s dining room” atmosphere.  Each of several dining rooms contains only a couple of dining tables to provide a sense of privacy. A patio in front allows for dining al fresco.
In addition to the warm, inviting atmosphere and the plethora of food and dining options, the food itself at One World Café was simply succulent and mouthwatering. The ingredients were clearly fresh. Most were organic.

“I believe in getting food as close to the source as possible,” One World Café manager David Spittler said.

Sunflower Farmers Market donates many of the ingredients used at One World Café.  The café also participates in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), where a monthly fee is paid to a local farm for its fresh produce.

Spittler became an advocate of fresh, organic food while he worked on a peach farm after high school.  The peaches they shipped to places such as Wal-Mart, Spittler said, were picked while they were still green, thus robbing the produce of many vital nutrients.

Using several of their favorite cookbooks, Spittler and a group of regular volunteers decide how to use the fresh ingredients as they prepare a weekly menu — about a week in advance.

“We try to make the menu as friendly to everyone as possible,” he said.

“My favorite cold dish was the Cucumber and Carrot Zest,” said customer Lauren Snow on a recent visit. “The ingredients were so simple but it had so much flavor, and it’s something I can make at home.”

One other point in One World’s favor: very little food at the café goes to waste. Because customers choose their portion sizes, they eat most of their food.

Furthermore, the food that is left over at the end of the day, such as salads, can often be reused in another dish the following day. Although the hot dishes are not reheated, Spittler said, they are often reused in a soup. Any leftover waste is recycled as compost.

One World’s kitchen is small, but out in the open for all to see.  Customers can watch their meals being cooked. With only one six-burner stove in operation, something is always cooking.

“We can’t prepare large quantities [of food] at one time,” said volunteer Isaac Hoppe. “This is a good thing because it’s fresh.”

Whether you’re looking for a pleasant dining atmosphere, a delicious variety of well-prepared dishes, or would simply like to help feed the hungry of Salt Lake City, the One World Café has something for everyone.

One World Café

41 S 300 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Hours: Wed -Sun, 8 a.m. -7 p.m.; Fri –Sat, 8 a.m. -9 p.m.

Phone: 801-519 – 2002519- 2002

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Occupy Salt Lake movement continues after a peaceful eviction

by Tricia Oliphant

Isaac Hoppe, who first became homeless about eight years ago, was on her last limb. She felt she had done everything possible to find work but did not see any results. She was ready to quit.

Last October, Hoppe saw a flier on a light post that gave her new hope. This flier advertised participation in the local Occupy Salt Lake movement that would commence the following day.

“I was pretty close to the end. On October 5, had I not read the declaration on a light pole, I think I would have given up on life completely,” Hoppe said.

Hoppe is one of several protesters who joined the Occupy Salt Lake movement in harmony with the Occupy Wall Street movement on Oct. 6, 2011. Salt Lake City has become one of hundreds of cities worldwide where demonstrators have congregated and camped in an effort to make their voices heard. Among other motives, the demonstrators feel 99 percent of the population is not fairly represented by the government; instead, only the voice of the wealthy 1 percent of the population is heard. This cause compelled people like Hoppe to join the Occupy movement.

“It’s not about blame; it’s understanding that we have all had a hand in getting the world where it is,” Hoppe said.

For more than a month, Salt Lake City protesters gathered in Pioneer Park downtown, living out of tents and sharing donated food.

The protest was challenged on Nov. 11, 2011 when participant Michael Manhard died in his tent.  Consequently, Salt Lake police officers evicted all Occupy protesters from Pioneer Park the next day.

Memories of Manhard’s death, the subsequent eviction, and how police handled both continue to upset Occupy participants.

Soon after the discovery of Manhard’s body, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank held a press conference where he announced that all demonstrators must evacuate the park within 36 hours due to Manhard’s death and sanitation issues.

“We felt it would have been better to have a private meeting [with Chief Burbank],” Hoppe said. “I think it was a breach of trust that he made a public event of the death of one of our participants.”

Burbank gave the protesters too little time to evacuate and remove their belongings and, as a result, many lost their belongings, said protester and cook Raphael Cordray.

Cordray said that two dump trucks and a front loader were used to remove all unclaimed belongings on the night of the evacuation. “It was pretty awful,” she said. “Some people weren’t prepared to leave.”

Although several participants were upset by the short eviction notice, they still offered Burbank and the Salt Lake City police some praise for the otherwise peaceful eviction.

“Burbank does a lot better than some folk,” Cordray said.

Upon evicting the group, the police did not dress in riot gear and did not use pepper spray or other harmful force, as was the case in Oakland, Calif. Instead, they spoke with protesters and stated their options: leave peacefully, receive a citation, or stay and be arrested.

“Pepper spray is a use of force. There are other ways to deal with it,” Burbank said. “When you have a relationship, it works a lot better.”

Nineteen protesters were arrested, Cordray said.

Since the eviction from Pioneer Park in November, some of the participants relocated to where they currently camp at the Gallivan Center in downtown Salt Lake City.

At present, only a dozen protesters camp full-time at the Gallivan Center.  This reduction of campers is due to smaller space, as well as a requirement to follow strict regulations.

The no drugs/violence/alcohol policy is now enforced more thoroughly than it was at Pioneer Park, Hoppe said. She has remained among the last camping protesters.

Tougher regulations at Gallivan mean participants can no longer cook food at their campsites or give food away.  These regulations are a result of the poor sanitation concerns at Pioneer Park.

Consequently, participants are in partnership with One World Café, where they eat their meals as well as volunteer their time.

Occupy Salt Lake will be allowed to stay at the Gallivan Center until May, Hoppe said. At that point, the city’s summer activities at the site will start, forcing another relocation for the demonstrators.

Several protesters who are not actively camping at the Gallivan Center meet with other protesters at the Salt Lake City Public Library at bi-weekly meetings to discuss current issues and to make plans.

“We want to work with the city,” Hoppe said.

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