Communitas Supportive Care Society has opened its latest social enterprise – Little Sprout Cafe.
The cafe, which opened April 20, has been years in the making, says Matt Dirks, program director with Communitas.
“This has been a labour of love and we are excited to finally be open for business,” he said.
Dirks said when guests visit, they’ll experience “authentic community and fresh cuisine.”
He said Communitas staff began brainstorming in 2014 for opportunities that would provide meaningful employment for people with diverse abilities and be financially viable.
Their research led them to consider two options: a cafe or an urban farming operation. Dirks said Little Sprout Cafe is a marriage of the two.
The cafe grows their own microgreens, herbs, and other leafy greens right inside the cafe. There is also a focus on locally sourced products and highlighting producers from the Lower Mainland.
Another unique aspect of Little Sprout Cafe is its commitment to inclusive hiring and training.
“At Little Sprout, there is a space for people of all abilities, on both sides of the counter,” Matt said.
The cafe will offer training for people living with mental health challenges, developmental disabilities, or acquired brain injury.
Trainees will be involved in planting and cultivating microgreens, food prep, and other responsibilities, depending on the needs, skills, and experience of each trainee.
“This customization allows us to create an environment where people can flourish regardless of how much experience or skill they arrive with,” Dirks said. “This training is meant to provide a platform for people to test themselves, gain confidence, and make informed decisions about their job search.”
Chef Jordan Rempel will be in charge of the kitchen. A Red Seal chef with 18 years’ culinary experience, Jordan is passionate about food and people.
“Combining gardening and healthy cooking, while including and supporting people from our community is a dream come true,” he said. “Growing live greens and cutting them into our dishes is awesome. I am excited about the quality of the super-fresh foods we are going to serve.”
Rempel shares Dirks’s conviction about inclusive hiring. He believes that a business that blesses the community is a business that thrives because it puts people first.
“Everyone has skills and abilities. Sometimes they just need a place to ‘activate’ those skills,” Rempel said, adding that he hopes other businesses will be inspired by the cafe’s inclusive hiring.
“I hope our model will ‘sprout’ more inclusive hiring in other cafes and restaurants in Abbotsford.”
Little Sprout Cafe is located at #102 – 2776 Bourquin Crescent West. It is open daily, except Sundays, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with a full take-out menu. Visit littlesproutcafe.ca for more information.