U of T’s vegan foodies have made a triumphant return in the new school year, just in time to rescue you from that soggy slice of pizza. Hot Yam! is the entirely volunteer run vegan food collective, to which the Graduate Student Union has given the green light to open a full-time vegan cafe on the 2nd floor of the GSU building.

As the culinary landscape on campus tends to be a little bleak, Giovanna Thron, a member of the Hot Yam! team, is excited about the cafe venture (to be names Sweet Peas Cafe). This observation by the Hot Yam! founders led them to the creation of the popular vegan alternative.

“It’s a lot of big companies making really bad food and charging a lot of money for it,” says Thron, “And the Hot Yam! decided they wanted some food on campus that was healthy, good and good for the world.”

Thron emphasizes that, in fact, only a few Hot Yam! members are vegans, and the collective aims to accommodate people of varying dietary choices and restrictions. “The main reason we are [vegan] is because we want to be accessible and we want any member to be able to eat there.” Thron goes on to say, “That also means that we take into account allergies and try to at least not have gluten in it, or nuts.”

The group started with a $300 grant from UTERN, the University of Toronto’s Environmental Students Union. It now serves 200 people healthy, mostly locally grown food every Wednesday at the Centre for International Experience. Now with the promise of a full-time vegan cafe, the food options at U of T are looking a little bit brighter.

Hot Yam! will begin their weekly $4 lunch programs on Sept. 21 from 12-2 at the Centre for International Experience, 33 St. George Street. Check out www.hotyam.ca for upcoming info on Sweet Peas Cafe.

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  • Subtitle: U of T’s vegan food collective returns with ambitious plans
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