On November 24, the FoCo Cafe will celebrate Thanksgiving Day as well as its second anniversary. The nonprofit pay-what-you-can restaurant located at 225 Maple Street in Old Town Fort Collins opened on Thanksgiving Day of 2014 and has served more than 44,500 lunches. Volunteer-driven, the Cafe offers healthy, small batch meals to all guests regardless of their ability to pay.
A special holiday lunch is in planned and will be served from 11:00am – 2:00pm.
FoCo Cafe’s Thanksgiving Menu:
Sweet potato quinoa salad (vegan, GF)
Red cabbage, apple, and cranberry salad (vegan, GF)
Pumpkin apple curry soup (vegan, GF)
Brazilian black bean soup (vegan, GF)
Special Holiday offerings
Smoked turkey (GF)
Deep-fat fried turkey (GF)
Roasted turkey (GF)
Roasted turkey gravy
Old fashioned mashed potatoes (vegetarian, GF)
Coconut cardamom sweet potatoes (vegan, GF)
Breads and desserts
Corn muffins (GF, non GMO corn)
Waffle Lab bread pudding (vegetarian)
Pumpkin-coconut-maple pie (vegetarian)
Old-fashioned pecan pie (vegetarian)
Currently in Colorado, only 17% of recycled glass actually gets recycled. The rest ends up in landfills damaging not only the environment, but the fragile ecosystems that depend on it.
In addition, glass contaminates 25% of the other recycled materials it’s combined with. So, if you use single stream recycling and include glass in your bin, much of your effort to recycle is for naught.
The solution? Remove glass from your single-stream recycling. This ensures that 100% of your materials get properly recycled!
Drop your glass off at FoCo Cafe! We host a public Clear Intentions glass drop-off station. This Colorado company provides services to ensure that 100% of glass, an infinitely reusable material, is reused. There are other glass recycling stations in Fort Collins – you may find one even closer to home.
Please drop off
- brown, green and clear beer bottles
- wine and liquor bottles
- drink, food, and other glass containers
- broken glass is even accepted
DO NOT leave plastic bags, pyrex, cermanic dishes or cups, mirrors, lightbulbs, or any trash.
Together, we can reduce landfill waste, make a positive impact on the environment, and build community around recycling!
Every act of kindness makes a difference! Consider the ways that makes sense for you to make a positive impact at FoCo Cafe and our community.
1. Bring a Friend to Lunch
FoCo Cafe is open Monday through Saturday, 11am to 2pm. Join us for lunch and check the menu each day on the Cafe website.
2. Grant a Wish
Check out the Cafe’s Amazon Wish List. We are always in need of kitchen tools, office supplies and more!
3. Make it a Date
Join us for upcoming Cafe events:
Donate your bag credit back to FoCo Cafe at Whole Foods – now through September 25
First Friday on the Farm at Shire CSA – August 5, 5-8pm
First Friday on the Farm at Shire CSA – September 2, 5-8pm
Roller Derby – FCRD Annual Black and Blue Ball – October 8
Roller Derby – FCRD Annual Salt n’ Pepper Mix-up – November 19
FoCo Cafe’s Second Anniversary – November 24
Colorado Gives Day – make a year-end gift to help support Cafe operations and join our Colorado Gives Day Celebration – December 6
4. Buy Your Groceries
Get a King Soopers reloadable card at the Cafe and support the Cafe without spending a penny. King Soopers makes a donation (equal to 5% of your spending) each time you reload your card to buy groceries or gas.
If you are a Thrivent member, you can recommend where some of Thrivent Financial’s charitable outreach funds go. Choose FoCo Cafe!
6. Gift a Lunch
Ever wanted to give someone a meal, but not in the form of cash? Give a FoCo Cafe token good for one meal. These tokens are $10, available at the Cafe, and make great gifts.
7. Show Us Your Smile
If you shop on Amazon, try Amazon Smile, where you shop and Amazon gives. Just designate “Feeding Our Community Ourselves, Inc.” as your charity and Amazon donates to the Cafe.
Register online. Once you fill out our online form, you are able to schedule your own shifts at the Cafe! We have shifts beginning at 9am through 5pm. We look forward to seeing you in a FoCo Cafe apron!
You can donate funds to make meals available for our community! Go to the Cafe Donation page or drop in to make your gift directly in our donation box.
FoCo Cafe promotes resourceful thinking and outside-the-box alternatives to wasteful food systems in our kitchen every day.
The Cafe serves nutrient-dense soups, salad, corn muffins and dessert for lunch Monday-Saturday on a pay-what-you-can basis. The kitchen has no grease-trap or hood, because the recipes do not produce grease. All plate and coffee waste is composted for worm compost. All prep waste is used to feed chickens across town.
Volunteers are taught to prepare food with care and consideration so that the food we process ends up going to hungry bellies – not to the Larimer County Landfill. Even our napkins and inspirational quote stickers are composted. There is plenty of time to consider our impact in the Cafe kitchen.
Too many resources are wasted in the United States in the name of convenience. Volunteers and staff at the Cafe learn how to cultivate new habits based on efficient consideration of resources. Once these practices become habit, it’s really not difficult to be considerate of the planet and mindful that thousands of families are food insecure in Colorado.
It just doesn’t make sense to throw away good food, therefore, we treat ingredients with respect and use them wisely. We welcome the two-pronged carrot or parsnip that is typically rejected because it doesn’t look perfect. We also plate food with each guest in a way that explains where many ingredients were sourced. We ask about portion sizes to reduce plate waste and we encourage second helpings. No one leaves hungry and FoCo Cafe’s food waste is much less than at traditional restaurants.
The Cafe sources as many ingredients as possible from local growers and businesses. Check out a list of our community partners. When food travels a long way to get to us, we don’t see all of the oil, packaging and other resources that go into a “convenient” meal. The FoCo Cafe is happy to introduce guests to local farmers, gardeners, and food and beverage suppliers through nourishing meals every day!
This blog is the fourth in a series featuring local farms. We are lucky to have a great group of farmers investing in our community, while providing local food to the FoCo Café, and families in the Fort Collins area.
Buena Vida Farm: A Higher Calling
How do you define social justice? For Laurel Smith the answer comes down to equitable access to food and other resources. This devotion for social justice has led Laurel to a join forces with her father at Buena Vida Farm. Currently, the farm specializes in tree and pumpkin production, with hopes of more vegetable production in the future. Her ultimate goal is a commitment to high-quality food.
Buena Vida Farm has been in the family for over 20 years. Laurel returned from the Pacific Northwest to help her father run the farm. However, her work in social justice runs much deeper than the recent years she has been farming with her father. As a young Girl Scout, Laurel first became interested in social justice issues while making crafts with the children of migrant farm workers. In Washington State, Laurel connected volunteers with local farmers after harvest to glean the farm of leftover produce. This was mutually beneficial for both the farmers and those who did not have access to fresh vegetables. But, as any good farmer might say, Laurel missed working with the soil. After culinary school, a rewarding career connecting volunteers with agriculturalists, and a co-authorship on the book Beyond Inclusion Beyond Empowerment: A Developmental Strategy to Liberate Everyone, Laurel’s love for the outdoors ultimately brought her back to the family farm.
In addition to pumpkin farming, Laurel is currently working with goji berries and amaranth in her personal garden. Although amaranth is not commonly found in food production, it is gluten-free and a source of complete protein. Above all, Buena Vida Farm is committed to growing healthy food that is both herbicide- and pesticide-free. Like many family farms, the city creeps ever so closely to Buena Vida Farm, yet Laurel’s work keeps her family farm in production.
At the end of the day, connecting soil quality, fair labor, and healthy food are all important to Buena Vida Farm. Laurel hopes that her family’s 35-acre plot of land can contribute to the greater good of the community.
To learn more about Buena Vida Farm, visit their website at http://www.buenavidafarm.com/. Information on CSAs and pick up information in Fort Collins can be found at http://coloradocsas.info/csas/pickupCity/Fort%20Collins.
This blog is the third in a series featuring local farms. We are lucky to have a great group of farmers investing in our community, while providing local food to the FoCo Café, and families in the Fort Collins area.
Harvest Farm: Nourishment for the Soul
Many seeds are planted at Harvest Farm. Most of them have more to do with the hearts of men, than growing food. Love, acceptance, healing, and especially redemption are all what make this farm unique.
Harvest Farm is located north of Fort Collins, in Windsor. The Denver Rescue mission purchased the Farm in 1989 with the intent of long-term rehabilitation for men specifically. Why men? The Denver Rescue Mission saw men as an underserved population in regard to homelessness and substance abuse issues.
After almost 20 years, the farm has only grown stronger and now has the capacity to house 72 men full-time. According to Hannah Baltz-Smith, with the Denver Rescue Mission, the rehabilitation program generally lasts 13 months, depending on the participant. Recovering men come from all over the United States, and even Canada. The farm takes men back into the program for a second chance, if necessary, and all for no cost.
Like most farms, livestock and crops are found as far as the eye can see. Harvest Farm grows a variety of produce including squash, beans, tomatoes, garlic, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, and honey. The farm also has several livestock species including donkeys, goats, pigs, dairy cattle, and all-natural Angus beef.
Growing high quality food has never been easy. Life on the farm comes with a great deal of responsibility. Each rehabilitation participant is given a specific job ranging from caring for livestock and crops to facility maintenance and food preparation. According to Hannah Baltz-Smith, the program is truly specialized to meet each man at their specific need, while building a specific skillset.
Although Harvest Farm produces high quality food, the main objective is returning strong men back to strong communities. Maintaining the farm comes with a variety of interpersonal challenges that far exceed physical labor. Working with each other, supervisors, and farm animals encourages each participant to fully develop their communication and conflict-resolution skillset. In addition to working with one another, participants are responsible for individual care of farm animals. According to Hannah Baltz-Smith, work-therapy sessions with farm animals can be some of the most beneficial sessions because they provide a non-judgmental sounding board. With a chuckle and a smile, Hannah asked, “Who’s Vinny [the donkey] going to tell?”
The true goal of Harvest Farm is healing and long-term success for each participant. A bright future is generally dependent upon job placement. In addition to emotional and spiritual support, Harvest Farm is also a gateway to gaining valuable job experience. Not only do they help run the farm, participants also go through courses geared toward professional development and resume building.
Want to visit the farm? If you’d like to help out, contact the Denver Rescue Mission. They gladly accept both short and long-term volunteers. The farm probably has a need that fits your area of expertise from adult mentorship to kitchen prep and livestock care. Each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the month of October, Harvest Farm will also feature a Fall Festival. The public is welcome to join, and all proceeds go toward the farm. More information on the Fall Festival can be found at http://www.harvestfarm.net/fall-festival.
All produce that is not used at Harvest Farm can be purchased through their CSA program. They also sell all-natural Angus beef shares. Harvest Farm’s model is one of wholesomeness. Mind. Body. Spirit.
To learn more about Harvest Farm visit their website at http://www.harvestfarm.net/. Information on CSAs and pick up information in Fort Collins can be found at http://coloradocsas.info/csas/pickupCity/Fort%20Collins.
This blog is the second in a series featuring local farmers. We are lucky to have a diverse group of producers who sell their produce to the FoCo Café, other local businesses, and families in our community.
Sunspot Urban Farm: Sometimes the Most Ingenious Business Models are Not the Biggest
Farmer. Environmentalist. Biologist. Researcher. Community-builder. Philosopher. These are just a few of the terms that describe Rod and Amy Yackel of Sunspot Urban Farm. Rod has a master’s in both English and Philosophy, and Amy earned her PhD in Wildlife Ecology. Neither grew up farming, but both have always had a passion for agriculture. According to Rod, there are several times in life that lead a person to re-evaluate the mark they truly want to leave. For the Yackels, this moment came in 2008 when Rod was seriously injured in a car accident. By 2009, Rod and Amy started Sunspot Urban Farm with a desire to provide nutritionally superior food, in an environmentally friendly way. The Yackels are so committed to this goal they actually hope to run a carbon-negative operation.
From composting to food co-ops, this lofty benchmark has led to community-building along every step of the way. Friends and neighbors bring autumn leaves, compostable left-over foods, and reusable building material to Sunspot Urban Farm. Businesses have also become a part of this eco-friendly partnership. Rod bicycles to Mugs and several other businesses each morning to pick up compostable coffee grounds and produce.
Why go through all of this work? Rod and Amy have become experts in soil quality, down to the microbial level. Rod and Amy care for their soil with only all-natural products; this includes ash, mineral, and reusable products from around the community. According to Rod and Amy, soil quality is the most important step in producing nutritionally superior food. They both take great pride in knowing that Sunspot Urban Farm produces a wholesome product for their community.
Sunspot Urban Farm’s innovation has not gone unnoticed. A Colorado State University student is currently working with Rod and Amy on developing an above ground strawberry production system. Later this season, Rod and Amy will also start a research project on the potential of using compost heat as a supplemental heat source in greenhouses. This would lead to a completely sustainable greenhouse. The idea could be used in various other sustainable heating systems as well. Both of these projects were made possible through grants with the United States Department of Agriculture.
Grants and research projects might lead one to think of a large-scale farming operation, but Sunspot Urban Farm is actually nestled in the heart of Fort Collins. With the majority of their operation located on a half-acre just north of the CSU Campus, the Yackels produce over 40 vegetable varieties. They also feed 25 families through their Neighborhood Supported Agriculture (NSA) program. Families pick up their produce from Sunspot Urban Farm each Tuesday afternoon. The Yackels describe Tuesday pick-ups as a time for community building. Most NSA members get to know one another as they select their feast for the week. In addition to their Neighborhood Supported Agriculture Program, the Yackels sell produce to the Fort Collins Food Co-Op and the FoCo Cafe.
Rod and Amy truly understand the symbiotic relationship that can exist with the environment, the community, and the individual. “The human takes care of the soil, the soil takes care of the plant, the plant takes care of the human, and the human has energy to take care for the soil” (Rod Yackel, personal communication, June 8, 2015).
To learn more about Sunspot Urban Farm, Rod and Amy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on CSAs and pick up information in Fort Collins can be found at http://coloradocsas.info/csas/pickupCity/Fort%20Collins.
As part of their annual employee engagement day, 12 Kaiser Permanente staff members and their families volunteered with FoCo Cafe earlier this year. Dawn Paepke, who helps coordinate their volunteer day each year heard about FoCo Cafe before its launch and was excited to engage Kaiser Permanente employees.
Jason Tacha, the Executive Director of Operations for Kaiser Permanente Northern Colorado was one of the employees who volunteered at FoCo Cafe, and he recently sat down with us to share more about his experience. “Actually, my wife and two children also volunteered with me,” mentioned Jason.
“It was really easy to get my family involved. Kaiser Permanente organizes our volunteer day once a year on Martin Luther King Day to encourage employees to engage with our community. My daughters had school off that day, and they were excited to come along and volunteer,” Jason explained.
Jason has two daughters, ages 10 and 12 who volunteered with him and his wife at the cafe. “They were able to do a variety of different volunteer activities including washing windows and helping to serve in the cafe. My wife and I helped serve food and wash dishes,” he said.
FoCo Cafe was a natural fit for the Kaiser Permanente employee volunteer day, as the company focuses on a few core values—overall healthy lifestyles, eating well, staying active, living well, and giving back to the community. Similar to the Kaiser Permanente company focus, it is easy to see that FoCo Cafe has a central focus and commitment to local and healthy food. FoCo Cafe understands the importance of gluten-free options, non-GMO foods, and supporting local agriculture. “Volunteering at FoCo Cafe was a natural fit because both Kaiser Permanente and FoCo Café have such a strong emphasis on supporting the overall wellbeing of our community and community members,” explained Pamela Sunderman, Integrated Marketing Communications Consultant for Kaiser Permanente.
“I definitely recommend other companies and organizations throughout the region get involved in volunteer work throughout the community.” In one day, Kaiser Permanente had an immense impact throughout the community. FoCo Cafe was just one stop in a series of volunteer activities the company employees engaged in on Martin Luther King Day. “This year some of our other volunteer activities included a blood drive and making emergency kits,” explained Sunderman. In previous years Kaiser has helped put together assistance kits for those experiencing homelessness in Larimer County, and other similar projects.
“Volunteering at the cafe fit in with our previous work not only because we were supporting a local organization, but also because we were able to engage with feeding our community of varying economic and social backgrounds,” said Jason.
To get your company involved with FoCo Cafe, contact email@example.com. To learn more about Kaiser Permanente and their community involvement, visit KP.org/Thrive.
This blog is the first of a series featuring farm-to-fork stories. Several great family-owned farms operate in the Fort Collins community. We purchase food from these local growers because it’s the best for our customers, our environment, and our economy. If you are wondering where Jeff finds his delicious ingredients, look no further than local farmers. The following feature comes from one of the most successful local growers in the community, Native Hill Farm.
Native Hill Farm, A Commitment to Fort Collins
Why farm? For Nic Koontz and Katie Slota, founders of Native Hill Farm, farming is a way to fill a deeper need in the community. The husband-and-wife team describes their interest in food production as a commitment to building a strong community, in an environmentally sustainable way, while making an economic profit. Katie calls this innovative business model a “triple-p bottom line: people, planet profit.”
Although Native Hill Farm is in its 7th season, getting into farming was not easy. Neither Katie nor Nic originally come from farming backgrounds or from Colorado. Katie is originally from Madison, Wisconsin. She completed her undergraduate work in microbiology and earned a master’s degree in environmental health from Colorado State University. Nic grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and studied biosystems engineering at Clemson University. Katie describes the first three years as the most challenging in regard to learning the idiosyncrasies of growing food while establishing a market for Native Hill produce.
But through the trials and tribulations, Katie and Nic have established a strong farming business that truly makes a difference in the Fort Collins community. According to Katie, community buy-in has been one of the most rewarding aspects of growing their farming operation. Native Hill Farm sells their product mostly through direct-to-consumer marketing. Part of this marketing plan is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program where participants can purchase fresh produce directly from Native Hill Farm. Katie and Nic have also started a shared-share program, where each member of their CSA has the ability to purchase Native Hill produce for those who can’t. Currently, this shared-share program is large enough to feed 7 – 10 families who would otherwise not have access to fresh produce.
Want to get your hands dirty? Native Hill Farm also offers a working member program. This allows those who can’t afford to purchase produce, or just want to experience the joy of growing their own food, the opportunity to help bring in the harvest in exchange for their share of fresh vegetables each season.
In addition to the people aspect of their “triple p” business model, Katie and Nic also work toward more sustainable growing practices each year. According to Katie, taking on large projects to promote green production practices might not be economically practicable all at once. Implementing eco-friendly farming practices as it becomes financially feasible is all part of Native Hill Farm’s long-term sustainability focus. Katie describes the best path moving forward as “the middle ground.” For Native Hill Farm, it comes back to a balanced business plan – the triple-p bottom line: people, planet, profit.
Next time you are in the Café enjoying a locally grown meal, think of Nic and Katie. They may have produced that delicious vegetable salad and soup just for you. As one of our patrons recently said, “Great hospitality and love abound. Top quality cuisine with top ingredients.”
Native Hill Farm is part of Katie and Nic’s effort to make the community a better place. An enthusiastic quote from Katie sums it all up, “if everyone gives a little, we can do a lot.”
To learn more about Native Hill Farm and their involvement in the community visit Native Hill’s website at http://nativehillfarm.com. Information on CSAs and pick up information in Fort Collins can be found at http://coloradocsas.info/csas/pickupCity/Fort%20Collins.