Seedlings Start-up Fund

The Problem

At the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC, Canada), there is a lack of availability in vegan, gluten-free and allergen sensitive eateries that serve local food at a student friendly price. The majority of the food on campus is provided either by AMS contracted businesses or UBC Food Services; neither includes a dedication to these food options (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and allergen sensitive) in their business value. Secondly, there is a lack of community space for individuals on the university campus. Space that is provided is dedicated to studying, which does not provide the same value as a space that fosters relaxation, community building and enjoyment.

Plan of Action

Sprouts wishes to change this by opening a new not-for-profit, student volunteer-run cafe on the university campus which will welcome all members of the university community. The cafe will serve food and beverages all of which will be organic, locally sourced and fair-trade when applicable and if feasible. In addition to specialized coffees such as lattes and cappuccinos, Sprouts will have a wide selection of artisan teas and some bottled cold beverages. Our menu will include a selection of raw vegan entrées such as raw “pad thai” and dessert items as well as wraps, quinoa curry bowls and made to order paninis. Sprouts will purchase as much produce as possible from the UBC farm, the LFS Orchard Garden and other farming initiatives within the lower mainland, but for the majority, our supplies will come from Discovery Organics, Horizon and Pro Organics. Our menu will be adjusted seasonally to reflect the options that are locally available. Since Sprouts has already established relationships with fair-trade and organic food suppliers in the lower mainland, bulk orders can be placed together, to reduce overhead costs such as shipping and other surcharges. New relationships with other local businesses may need to be established to cater Seedlings’ unique needs. The target market for the cafe will be UBC graduate students, undergraduate students, faculty, staff and individuals living on or near campus. In particular, Sprouts hope to fill a niche market on UBC campus for raw vegan, and health conscious vegetarian cuisine. Additionally, Sprouts hope to attract students and faculty from the North West corner of campus who may be limited in their options of convenient food outlets within short walking distance. Lastly, considering that Sprouts will be occupying a space belonging to the Grad Student Society, Sprouts hope to be embraced by the graduate student community as a place to go for affordable coffee, snacks and lunches. Sprouts is a club under the Alma Mater Society at UBC. They run as a not-for-profit, student run food sustainability initiative by running programs such as: 1. The Sprouts Cafe 2. The Sprouts Grocery Store 3. The Sprouts Box 4. The Bulk Buying Club 5. Community Eats 6. Workshops By opening Seedlings, Sprouts will be continuing their goals of providing local, affordable and organic food to individuals at UBC.

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