A Fresh Take on Training
Under the watchful eye of Chef Jordan Rempel, trainees choose fresh basil, nasturtiums, sweet pea, and sunflower greens to add to the meals they are preparing. The herbs are grown in the microgreen cultivators inside Little Sprout Café. As they are picked, their unique scent fills the room. The smells from the kitchen are mouth-watering.
But there is more growing in this café than microgreens. Trainees in the café are growing in skills and confidence. Little Sprout Café is a social enterprise committed to inclusive hiring and people who live with mental health challenges, developmental disabilities, or acquired brain injury have the opportunity here to gain experience and training that will help them find work in the restaurant industry. Matt Dirks, program director with Communitas, says this model was part of the plan for the café from the very beginning.
“From the outset, our goal was to actively model what inclusive hiring can look like,” Matt says. “This training is meant to provide a platform for people to test themselves, gain confidence, and make informed decisions about their job search.”
Trainees work with Communitas Employment Specialists to find their way to permanent employment. Stacey Murdoch is an employment specialist with Communitas. She has seen the impact that a positive work experience with an understanding employer has had on the people she serves.
“As people receive training and experience, they begin to see the value that they bring to the work place,” she says. “This then has a positive effect on their own mental health, their confidence, and their motivation to continue to grow and learn.”
Chef Jordan Rempel is excited about what the café has to offer both in terms of product but also in terms of being a place where people feel a sense of belonging, growth, and contribution. He hopes this will be a blessing to the community in every way.
“People are more valuable than any other aspect of life and as we place people first, we see the amazing results that it will have on our business and in our community,” he says.
“We believe everyone has something to contribute,” Matt says. “We believe that we can all learn from one another, and that we should focus on what people can and are willing to do, not what they can’t.”
Little Sprout Café is located at #102 – 2776 Bourquin Crescent West in Abbotsford. The café is open Monday to Saturday from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm with a full take-out menu.