I have enjoyed many a tasty meal from a Sprouts kitchen. They are quiet, friendly spots filled with the wafting smells of freshly baked goods—like sanctuaries from the busyness of a day on campus.
Cooking and community
At the beginning of last year, my younger sister, Clarisse, started volunteering with Sprouts.
She speaks of the community so fondly, I figured I had to learn more, so we found a sunny spot outside the Nest and chatted over coffee.
She begins by describing Sprouts as “a volunteer and student-run nonprofit organization, with the goal of creating meals from ethically sourced products and providing vegan and wholesome meals to people around campus.”
The community, which was founded in 1997, operates two locations: Seedlings, with stunning panoramic views of the mountains and oceans on the top floor of the Thea Koerner building, and a newly-opened namesake location in the basement of the UBC Life Building.
They also operate the Community Eats programs, which provides healthy, vegetarian lunches by-donation each Friday!
Clarisse originally got involved with Sprouts at the suggestion of her friends and roommates:
“They were always talking about this cool and welcoming environment where you work in a kitchen for a couple hours a week, so I tried it out and loved it.”
Once or twice a week, she heads up to Seedlings to help in the kitchen. “I chop and prepare meals, help customers, clear away tables, but my favorite time is when we get to make pancakes,” she says with a smile.
Beyond just being a place for a quick bite, Sprouts is also the place for dialogue and learning: “We really try to promote open discussions and education about the complexities of fair trade and global trade as well as sustainable ways to consume.”
Every once in a while the group hosts workshops to foster these discussions, such as one about etymology hosted last October.
Throughout our conversation, Clarisse highlighted the values and vision that underpin everything Sprouts does: “At the core of it, we try to promote sustainable food practices. For example, we receive lots of our produce from the UBC Farm, and rely on locally-grown food sources as much as possible.”
The community is also a vocal advocate for Musqueam food sovereignty—it’s good food for good causes.
So, if you’re looking for a fun, supportive, and environmentally-conscience community to get involved with, give Sprouts a try. As Clarisse says, “All you have to do is go on our website and apply. It’s really quick and easy!” If you don’t have previous kitchen experience, don’t worry, they’re always looking for more help, plus it’s a great place to learn.