Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on September 29, 2008
In a country where commercialization and ever-expanding profits often triumph over basic necessities like food and health, it’s nice to find a world where human spirit and well-being still thrives… even in a place where separation of church and state is still… um… up for grabs.
I happened to stumble across such a place in Salt Lake City, One World Everybody Eats, where eating and building community have uniquely come together. An organization whose vision includes the elimination of both world hunger and waste in the food industry. Pretty “G”, if you ask me.
Located near downtown Salt Lake, One World Everybody Eats takes the old soup kitchen format and turns it into something much better. Believing everyone deserves a healthy meal, owner Denise Cerreta’s motto is “a hand up, not a hand out.” Anyone can eat and patrons are encouraged to pay whatever price they deem fair. Those who can’t pay can volunteer in the kitchen washing dishes or tending the garden. An hour of work equals a meal, and there are available tasks for everyone, regardless of their abilities, age, health or physical limitations.
There is no set menu, which allows the cooks to be creative and explore a variety of organic dishes made from food grown as locally as local food gets, from their garden. Everything is made with vital, fresh nutrients. Water, coffee and teas are available, but if you want soda you’ll have to provide your own (excellent idea!). No alcoholic beverages are permitted.
Food is prepared in the open and distributed via serving line. And unlike most restaurants where the chef is king, the atmosphere here strives to be a purely positive and interactive one, in which visitors are encouraged to discuss the food and their experiences eating it.
And the diverse group of patrons chat each other up with openness and ease. I can vouch for it, as I was warmly greeted by chefs Bo and Tony, who help keep it all happening day to day. I also met a volunteer named Daniel who said One World helped him get his feet on the ground and earn an income after a difficult period in his life. Free (or reasonable) hearty meals and on-the-job training are hardly the staples of a typical restaurant — but are precisely the characteristics that make this gem stand out.
So positive has their experience been that One World Everybody Eats has formed a non-profit status with the intent to grow into other cities. So, if you’re in Salt Lake, make sure you swing by for a treat. And don’t forget to save room for the house special dessert, The Everything Cookie.
For more information, check out their website.