Image by Marsha McLeod

Harvest Noon, a student run, vegan café above the GSU Pub on 16 Bancroft, recently celebrated their second birthday with a dessert potluck.

Offering a relaxed environment, and serving only local and sustainable produce, the meals are provided by the dedicated labour of student volunteers. Last week, the newspaper chatted with the café to shed light on their two years of inspiring and diligent work. 


“The idea was to bring together UofT students and community members for a Monday-Friday space, serving vegan, sustainable food,” said external affairs liaison, Jes, who discussed the mandate of Harvest Noon and why the space was first created.

“Creating a community was definitely a part of it. It was also the idea of having an actual space, because places like Hot Yam were operating one day a week. … This space came up and we decided to go for it and put a package together for GSU [HN landlord]. And having educational programming was key to our levy and our existence.”


What makes Harvest Noon unique from other community driven spaces is that it is completely student run. “That’s what’s great about the experience of eating and coming here or doing our workshops and getting involved with a committee because people have the knowledge that everything here was organized by students,” said Jes.


Harvest Noon also supports local in every sense. The café serves only local and sustainable food: “It’s important to have relationships with food producers because we can often be divorced from our food sources. We decide to serve not only local goods here, but we belong to other broader co-ops, like the local organic food co-op.”


Harvest Noon also encourages and promotes various local artists and community organizations. Poetry readings and musician performances occur weekly. The café also sticks to a playlist of local Toronto artists.

“We support groups that often just do not have a voice,” Jes said. This coming week on February 14 Harvest Noon will be supporting the 9th Annual Strawberry Ceremony in Honour of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Harvest Noon also distributes the Six Nations newspaper, Two Row Times. 

Monthly documentary screenings are shown and guest speakers and workshops are presented. In November, Keith McHenry, the co-founder of the Global Foods Not Bombs Movement, provided a workshop.


“He talked to us while we all made food together. It just offers a different environment. He also lectured at Ryerson, but that provides a very different feel. This was much more hands on and immediate, offering students experiences they wouldn’t get in class,” said Jes.



Regarding the future, student response has only been positive, “We’ve had to double our produce requirement this year. The only complaint we get is that people want us open more!”

To check out Harvest Noon, visit the website here.


In an earlier edition of this article, Two Row Times was incorrectly quoted as an "Aboriginal newspaper"; the newspaper sincerely apologizes for the error. 


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