Community Outreach

Things that Make Us Feel Warm and Fuzzy: Socks and Coffee

Spread the joy of hot coffee next time you’re in the cafe!

Join the nationwide movement started in 2013 that has changed the way we care about each other. Introducing: Suspended Coffee.
 

John M. Sweeney (founder & chief kindness officer, yes that’s his official title) re-introduced Suspended Coffee into cafes around the world in 2013. Based off old Naples tradition, the term “caffè sospeso” means “suspended” or pending coffee. With roots in working-class Naples, a person experiencing a stroke of good luck would purchase two coffees. The patron would then take one coffee with them and leave the extra for someone in need. This anonymous act of charity has grown into a international program.

At Chaco we love being a part of a something that brings us together. Suspended Coffee is an opportunity for us to promote kindness and strengthen our communities.
 
“It can provide physical comfort, conversation, a smile or even a laugh, and a sense of belonging. A suspended coffee can change lives, sometimes even save them.” Read more at www.suspendedcoffee.com or check out this video!


 

Chaco wants you to know that we can “suspend” any menu item! Just tell us at the counter when you order your meal.

Add a Hippie Bowl, or Avocad-O Smoothie to our donation cup and know that you took part in feeding someone.
So come on by and make a stranger’s day, donate something sweet and simple. We’ll make the coffee!

Box of Sox Now at Chaco Greenwood

Chaco Greenwood is proud to be a WeCount donation drop off zone. WeCount is a local organization connecting those in need with items that are essential, by asking neighbors to donate what they can. This is a great way to unite as a community and assist one another with acquiring some of the basics. WeCount takes donations of outdoor gear, personal hygiene products, home goods, and much more!

They even have an App!

You can use the app simply by having a text-enabled phone or email address. After creating an account, users can choose to seek help or donate.
Our Greenwood location has now adopted a box as a part of the Box of Sox Program. This drive is specifically geared to helping our community members that need help this upcoming winter season! We are accepting new or lightly used socks for donation. Sometimes the little things make a big difference. Help us keep our community warm and cozy this winter. Drop by and donate!
To find out more information about donating & how you can get involved in the cause visit www.WeCount.org.
 
boxsox
 
Help us fill our box FULL of sock!

Tis the Season
Courtney Denney
General Manager
Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe & Bakery, Greenwood

Chaco CanyonThings that Make Us Feel Warm and Fuzzy: Socks and Coffee
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Building Bridges for U-District Youth

When I began training to be the next General Manager of Chaco University, one aspect I was the most excited about was taking on some community activism projects.

First, I wanted to settle into meeting members of the U-District community.

I took several walks around the neighborhood when I first started commuting from central Seattle.
Almost immediately, I noticed a disproportionately large number of homeless and disenfranchised youth on the streets of the U-district.

I thought, there must already be a great deal of effort going into helping this group of people find stability in their life.

I hoped that if I joined the people working on this that I could add a unique skill set. I wanted to use my resources to diversify and expand the scope of the work that they were doing.

I connected with several people at the annual stakeholder’s meeting with the U-District Partnership’s Buisness Improvement Area (BIA). I met folks working with U-Heights and ROOTS Young Adult Shelter. They were involved in working on improving the lives of homeless youth.

Roots

A few short weeks later, I was at a meeting with those same key people. We began hammering out the details for a homeless youth job placement program, hosted by ROOTS. We hashed out some initial details on doing outreach to other businesses with entry level work force needs. Then we outlined the creation of a pilot program for having light, general work training and UDP/City of Seattle wage compensation put in place. We were going to facilitate the push for these businesses to take on U-district youth as employees.

This project represents not only my personal drive to be a part of the community I work in, but the desire of the Chaco Family to be an active force for improvement in our communities.

There are many areas of my new post as General Manager at Chaco University that I am extremely excited about. The food and drink,

The amazing internal community that makes up the Chaco Family.

Our ability to drive forward sustainable, organic agriculture in Washington. Still, helping those in need in the greater U-District community is one area I feel most called to.

I’m really looking forward to continuing this work and to meeting many more wonderful members of the University District community. I’m excited to meet you all and build amazing things here!

Avalon Zanoni
Manager, U-District
Chaco Canyon Cafe

brandontutmarc_pqo1knBuilding Bridges for U-District Youth
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Great Weekend at Sustainable Ballard

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I raised my eyebrows in surprise when I was told that we were going to be serving Banana Bread at Sustainable Ballard.

I’ve learned to avoid bananas at the grocery store, like other cheaply available and mass produced items. I’m always suspect of how a company can afford to pay it’s workers a living wage and still give me such a good price.

After asking around the kitchen, I learned that we source our bananas from Giving Resources and Opportunities to Workers (GROW). GROW gives restaurants and retailers an alternative to the questionable practices of other banana farms. The following short video tells us about the positive effects GROW has managed to bring to banana farming communities:


Saturday’s break in intense heat was ideal. Courtney and I arrived at Ballard Commons under the more familiar cloudy skies. We set up our tent for what became a lively and fun event that included live music, demonstrations, and free Chinook books! Our table was situated right across from the Food Empowerment Project (F.E.P.).

I love this organization’s mission, “to create a more just and sustainable world by recognizing the power of one’s food choices”.

F.E.P. recently sponsored a school supply drive for the children of farm workers, which is so cool!

While at the event, a KBFG DJ told me that Chaco Canyon Cafe is now on the Food Empowerment Project’s Chocolate List. This list recognizes companies who source chocolate that is not produced by means of child labor or slavery. I encourage you to read this article if you’d like to know more about where your chocolate is coming from!

Although I’m terribly camera shy, it only took about 10 minutes until I was asked to speak about Chaco on local radio station KBFG 107.3.

I was very excited to learn that KBFG is a local North Seattle broadcast, serving Ballard, Fremont, Greenwood, and Phinney Ridge.

Currently, KBFG is only streaming online, but they will be broadcasting as a low-power FM station in early 2017. Don’t you just love local community powered radio?! I do. Check out KBFG’s schedule. They offer musica  mexico, heritage hour African language programming, and local business reports. So much content is offered, and there are plenty of ways to get involved!

KBFG explores Sustainable Ballard!

 

All together, it was wonderful to see everyone who could make it! I love serving banana bread to someone and telling them there’s no eggs or butter in it. The shock! The awe. Good food simply needs good ingredients. As a buyer for the café, I know how much love and care goes into sourcing those ingredients. Honestly, it’s great to be at an event and see that folks come to our table because they know it’s food they can get behind.

All in all, thank you to everyone who came out to Sustainable Ballard. See you next year!

Cheers,
Bettina
Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe
Commissary Kitchen

Chaco CanyonGreat Weekend at Sustainable Ballard
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Why I Work To Make Clean Food Accessible To My Community

Chris Maykut and his daughter took fresh squeezed orange juice to her school and compared it with bottled brands for a little taste testing and nutritional experiment.

Are you formulating a hypothesis yet?

As a father of two public school kids, I have been able to witness firsthand what happens in the lunchroom of my children’s schools. As a foodie I’ve been surprised, disappointed and appalled.   This isn’t going to turn into a rant about what is served – I get the budget constraints and what the lunch staff has to work with. What shocks me is what kids bring from home and worse, the lack of knowledge and – honestly – concern for basic nutrition. Lots of Lunchables, candy, pasteurized juice and juice-like products. It’s pretty disappointing.

Fast forward to this year’s Science Fair, where I finally convinced my daughter, Raina, to engage in a nutritional science experiment.  She chose to compare three versions of orange juice in terms of (a) nutritional content and (b) blind taste preference.  She decided to examine variables between fresh organic orange juice from Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe, Odwalla pasteurized 100% orange juice, and…. the incomparable “Sunny D”.

While the nutritional analysis is fairly predictable, the tasting was what really stood out to me.  We conducted a blind taste test in her 4th Grade classroom at Greenwood Elementary a couple weeks before the science fair.  We predicted there would be a fairly even preference distribution throughout her twenty-five classmates, since the three options are fairly distinct from each other as far as sweetness, freshness, and flavor.  That turned out to be a very optimistic prediction.

Survey Results

Survey Says…

Not Freshly Squeezed

Sunny D

I knew things were going to go off the rails when the first taster tried the fresh, organic orange juice from Chaco. She scrunched up her face, spat the juice in a trash can, and blurted out “what the heck is that?” Wow. Twenty-two of twenty-five students voted Sunny D (option C on the example slips pictured) as their favorite. Only one student chose the fresh juice as their favorite and only three others even chose it as second.

What was even more surprising to me was the blind tasting at the Science Fair itself. While it was good that about 95% of adults preferred fresh, still 90% of students preferred Sunny D. The really disappointing reality was revealed in speaking to the parents themselves; while they generally preferred fresh, there was massive misconception about Sunny D itself.  Many thought that it’s “mostly juice” or has “good nutritive properties” and “some wholesome ingredients”. Aargh!

We can purchase a gallon of Sunny D here in Seattle for 99 cents – I wasn’t clear I could buy water for that price.  It’s a product that has absolutely no redeeming qualities, yet their marketing has established them as a “not bad” option for parents, while their formula is much more appealing to kids than real options.

The upshot: read ingredients and dedicate yourself to feeding your family good, wholesome food.  Fresh orange juice isn’t the best thing in the world for a healthy body, but Sunny D may be one of the worst.

 

Thoughts from the Owner at Chaco Canyon Organic Cafes
Chris Maykut

Chaco CanyonWhy I Work To Make Clean Food Accessible To My Community
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The Community Bowl Program; Why We Moved the Scale

In 2013, we began offering the Community Bowl at our University café location. The idea was to have a full sliding scale meal option at a suggested price, available for free once per day per customer. The sliding scale was adjusted this April, continuing as the same grain bowl, but now with a donation minimum between $2-9, above that is still considered a donation to the program.

 

daal bowl (3)

The Community Bowl was created as a nutrient dense bowl (rice, beans, carrot, cabbage, kale, garlic tahini, and toasted sunflower seeds) that would hold well- along with an orange or banana that theoretically could be saved for later*. It was created so that people without regular access to whole foods could get something healthy once a day, regardless of their ability to pay.

When you look at this program in a bubble, it was extremely effective. It is a healthy menu item at a busy café that was available for 3 years for free in part because it was subsidized by the community; there continued to be a lot of donations, and Chaco as a business was not losing money on the program. When you pop the bubble, and look at Chaco Canyon as a whole and what we are trying to create, this program looks quite different. We have a stated mission of having zero impact on the environment, and we balance every business decision with our people (including our community), the planet and our profits in mind. What it comes down to, is that this program on a daily basis confronted our desire to be sustainable. Every day, we would have people walk away from their tables or from the café after ordering a Community Bowl, which would then sit unattended or waiting to be picked up, and would be either not eaten at all or partly eaten in a bus tub.

Looking at the amount of food not being consumed and wasted daily, we needed to rethink this program. By assigning a real dollar value, we have given our customers a sense of personal value for the food we provide. We did not think $2 would be an unattainable height for most, though we knew some would no longer be able to use the program. We have seen the effects of this recent change and are still seeking a better answer.

Perhaps if more businesses began offering sliding scale options, more cultural norms would be established, and there would be less friction and hostility on the front lines of these interactions. As a society we need to acknowledge where we are not meeting the needs of our most vulnerable populations and work together to strengthen our communities. We at Chaco Canyon Café continue to create structures and space for this discussion every day.

*The community bowl at Chaco Canyon Cafe Bakery in Greenwood is our daal bowl and does not come with fruit.

Chaco CanyonThe Community Bowl Program; Why We Moved the Scale
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