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Diversity Food Services Fast Facts

HISTORY

  • In June, 2009, The University of Winnipeg introduced a new concept in campus dining called Diversity Food Services Inc. The architects of this food services delivery model are two Winnipeg based organizations, The University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation (UWCRC) and SEED Winnipeg. The joint venture will employ approximately 25 people to provide all food services on campus including meal plans for students living at the new McFeetors Hall student and community residence.

  • In early July 2009, an award-winning duo was hired: Ben Kramer, formerly of Dandelion Eatery, is the Executive Chef. Kirsten Godbout, former general manager of the cafe Bread & Circuses, is managing the operational side of Diversity.

  • In July and August 2009, 21 people from ethnically diverse origins including Burma, Canada, Cuba, Ethiopia, First Nations, Moldavia, Nigeria, Philippines and Sudan began an intensive, four-week training program covers areas such as customer service, time management skills, hygiene, kitchen equipment usage, safe food handling, cashier duties as well as meal preparation. Providing training, mentorship and employment to those in our surrounding community who may face barriers to meaningful work is an approach that is unique among food service providers serving universities in Canada. Manitoba Labour and Immigration, Employment Manitoba and the United Way have generously provided funding for the training program. Assiniboine Credit Union and Jubilee Fund are providing start-up loans for Diversity Food Services.

SERVICES

  • The mandate of Diversity Food Services is developing nutritious, fairly-priced and ethnically diverse food options. Diversity focuses, wherever possible, on locally sourced foods, organic ingredients, and a commitment to fair-trade practices.

  • In September 2009, Diversity Food Services began serving its new food options to students, faculty, staff and visitors to the University. Diversity also caters meals for campus and external functions. Three main campus cafeterias have new names:

    • Pangea's Kitchen (Riddell Hall). Pangea comes from the Greek meaning `entire earth'. It features full meals.

    • Malecon (Centennial Buffeteria). Malecon is the Spanish word for seaside boardwalk. It provides “on-the-go” street food from around the world.

    • Café Bodhi (Lockhart) focuses on quick coffee service and light snacks.

  • Elements - The Restaurant, is the newest Diversity-managed outlet. Located at street-level inside the Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex at 599 Portage Avenue, it is a full service, licensed restaurant that is open to the public.  It also has an outdoor patio.

BACKGROUND

  • Diversity Food Services Inc. is the successful result of two non-profit organizations working in collaboration to produce a win-win-win result - for students, the broader community, and the University.

  • SEED Winnipeg, Inc. is a non-profit agency that has been operating in Winnipeg since 1993. Its' mandate it is to combat inner-city poverty by aiding people in their efforts to save money and to start small sustainable ventures. By offering business management training, individual help and business advice, small business loans and savings programs, SEED Winnipeg, working in partnership with like-minded organizations, has been instrumental in changing the course of many lives in the inner-city.

  • A volunteer Board approves and oversees all SEED Winnipeg projects.

  • In 2006, SEED Winnipeg undertook a feasibility study to determine the viability of a food enterprise that would celebrate diversity in its menu and its staff. Providing training and an opportunity for ownership were important parts of the concept. The study recommended the area in and around The University of Winnipeg as an ideal neighbourhood to locate a food service dedicated to diversity.

  • The University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation is a University created not-for-profit, charitable organization that is responsible for developing new University facilities and operating non-academic business units for the University.

  • A volunteer Board of Directors is drawn from both within and outside the University community to approve and oversee all UWCRC projects.

  • In 2008, the University needed to develop new food options on campus including a daily meal plan to accommodate students from all ethnic backgrounds who would be living in the new McFeetors Hall: Great-West Life Student Residence.

  • The University of Winnipeg and The University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation are committed to two important principles which dove-tailed with the SEED Winnipeg initiative: enhancing capacity in our surrounding community by supporting opportunities for new Canadians and Aboriginal people; and creating a campus that is socially, environmentally and financially sustainable.

  • In 2009, both the Board of SEED Winnipeg and the Board of UWCRC voted to support the establishment of Diversity Food Services Inc.

  • Diversity Food Services Inc. now has its own volunteer Board of Directors to guide its development and growth.

DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT DIVERSITY FOOD SERVICES INC. IS AVAILABLE AT Diversity Foods