This new sprout in the Seasoned Spoon’s growing menu of food initiatives marks the first 10 years of a dynamic and innovative food co-op in our area.
In the early 2000s, a group of dedicated OPIRG food activists shared a powerful vision: to establish an alternative food offering on the Trent campus, a place to feed people's body, mind and spirit. The time was ripe and from this vision grew a new venture, the Seasoned Spoon. Located north of the Great Hall in Champlain College, the Spoon has carved itself a unique space where one can celebrate the bounty of local food while learning about the food system. The café is the most visible feature in an integrated palette of initiatives which include the Trent Vegetable Gardens as well as a strong stream of educational workshops and hands-on activities.
In late fall, I had the opportunity to interview Aimee Blyth, the Seasoned Spoon coordinator. We met at the café and talked about the history of this social enterprise over a delicious bowl of spicy black bean soup with mushrooms and quinoa. The spoon works with a committed crew of staff and volunteers who cook and serve delectable vegetarian fare, grow food at the rooftop garden and engage their peers in food conversations.
On Saturday, I joined a group of local producers, social justice activists and food enthusiasts who celebrated the Spoon's 10-year anniversary with a series of engaging conversations. The mood was festive and the discussions provided a great deal of food for thought. The last panel discussion focused on "Spooning into the next decade - Growing, sourcing, storing and connecting with Community." I wish I could have stayed and listened to what was shared. I have no doubt, however, that the Seasoned Spoon is going to grow stronger roots in the next decade and will affirm a vibrant vision of a powerful alternative to the dominant food system, not only within the university context, but within the region at large.