Lounge mixes vegan delight with social responsibility

on Saturday, January 09, 2016

The Burrowing Owl is the first neighborhood lounge of its kind in Colorado Springs. Plant-based diet lovers and gathers venture to 1791 South 8th Street Unit H, a place to connect without screens.
The meeting spot was established with a social responsibility for supporting dialogue on matters within the community. The lounge comes at a time of polarization on topics among communities nationwide.
Owners Aspen and Mike Napp along with Cody Rilo and Tyler Schiedel opened the lounge in June 2015 to support human liberty.
As the web site states: “If we are to be true to ourselves, we will need to be social, sustainable, and deeply rooted to our community.” Why Owls? “Owls represent wisdom. A quality needed when trying to see through masks to find truth… Burrowing Owls are one of only two owls that are social.”
Aspen Napp said the lounge’s bar is made with a tree reclaimed from the Black Forest Fire of 2013 and tables are made from beetle kill trees in an effort to preserve natural resources.  
With local donations from like-minded local eateries such as Shuga’s, and an entrepreneurial inspiration the couples embarked on their vision for the lounge. Offering a discount to disconnect from cell phones, the vision is to create a cozy fun environment where people from all walks of life can enjoy each other. No televisions also offer a refreshing atmosphere to support humanity.
Even stripped straws in beverages indicate a preference to alcoholic drinks, said Savannah Bustos, visiting patron and waitress at Earls Kitchen and Bar in Denver.
The lounge operates sustainably. Beer cans are recycled and the money goes into the business. Cocktails contain beneficial ingredients such as vinegars, vermouths and teas.  The majority of furnishings are reclaimed. A compost is used in flower beds to grow flowers and herbs. The food program is 100 percent USDA Organic and non-GMO Project verified. Menu items are 100 percent dairy free and 98 percent gluten free with no cooking oils or fats to retain the natural environment.


Compassionate approach earns Seeds Community Café accolades

on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Nurturing through food and supporting economically depressed communities earned Seeds Community Café, in Colorado Springs, the Kind Company of the Month. IMG_20151221_120955967
The café’s pay it forward, pay-what-you-can nonprofit enterprise model was recognized by the Kindness Revolution and Dave Beadles Insurance Agency. The Kindness Revolution is a national non-profit initiative.
According to café Owner Lyn Harwell, since September 2013 the cafe served over 50,000 meals, 40 percent in exchange that equates to 20,000 meals served for volunteer service. With 80 percent of the food locally sourced with the Sustainable Catering Program, over 2,000 volunteers, cooking classes, a garden project, a local food truck, placing 30 people to work in a Culinary Arts Training Program, and roughly $1 million has gone into the economy.
The first community cafe in Utah inspired Harwell to create a café in Colorado Springs. Through One World Everybody Eats Organization (OWEE) Harwell establish the café. OWEE helps communities alleviate hunger at the local level.
According to the organization, there are 50 community cafes across the United States utilizing this business model, including Panera Bread’s Panera Cares project, with another 20 cafes in the planning stages. Almost all operate predominately with volunteers.
Fifty million people – are food insecure, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s report on Household Food Security in the United States in 2011. OWEE states: “This means families and individuals eat unhealthy foods or resort to accessing emergency food pantries and other coping strategies, or find socially unacceptable ways to meet their nutrition needs such as scavenging or stealing.”
To counteract food insecurity, Harwell, who grew-up on a farm in Ohio, “extends kindness.”
“We traded food and it was a real community. Kids said I was the poor kid in poverty, but I did not feel like that – I felt like a king,” he said. Harwell came to Colorado Springs in 2003 volunteering at the Marion House soup kitchen serving the homeless and less fortunate.
“I knew there was a better way to serve. We tried other models, and in 2013 gardening and kindness became more important,” Harwell said.
Harwell said the culinary arts program teaches cooking skills for mostly high risk people. The program along with councilors aid people in walking through situations instead of walking off job sites.
The next project is to work with the economically depressed Hillside community. Harwell said many community members walk to the 711 for groceries experiencing a “food desert.”
Harwell will enter into a two-year plan in partnership with Colorado College, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS), the city, the Justice and Peace Commission and Pikes Peak Permaculture.
At the Hillside Community Center 300 children will be empowered to learn sustainable gardening and culinary skills. Also, the café’s food truck and the Carrot food truck of UCCS will support.
“The (community café) model is catching on,” said Laura Ettinger café spokesperson. “Two community cafes are in Denver.”
OWEE l holds a yearly summit in Denver in January to provide upcoming café owners with knowledge to operate community cafes.

Action, courage, wellbeing key to recovery

on Monday, November 30, 2015

Colorado Springs, Colorado residents are bonding together, grieving lives lost in a tragic Friday shooting. One of several vigils were held at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, UCCS, Saturday for fallen UCCS Police Officer Garrett Swasey.
“It is truly the spirit of the community,” said Pamela Shockley Zalabak, UCCS chancellor of the gathering. “Officer Swasey represents the ideas of people that strive collaboratively to support one another. We are not going to be defined by this tragedy. We will be defined by the support we provide.”
UCCS and American Red Cross offereCommunity Crisis Recovery Center opened. The center is comprised of support personnel from approximately 11 agencies.
d emotional support with counselling services on-hand during the vigil, and the following day a
Officer Swasey, first responder on scene, died in the line of service as the shooter, Robert Louis Dear, rampaged in a Planned Parenthood Friday. The shooting also resulted in the loss of two citizens lives, Jennifer Markovsky and Ke’Arre Marcell Stewart. All are survived by their children. Injuries were sustained to other law enforcement personnel and citizens.
Officer Swasey, a champion figure skater, was mourned and honored by the campus community and police force.
“He was a dedicated officer and husband,” said Brian McPike, UCCS executive director of public safety and chief of police. “I recommended him, and I could tell that he had an enthusiasm. Thanks all brethren. I got enormous amounts of emails and contact throughout the world.”
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said: “When that call came in without hesitation, Garrett responded. Garrett did not have to respond. It was not his jurisdiction. That is courage that is what defines our community. Garrett did not die in vain.”
Within the last five years Colorado Springs citizens experienced a shooting about three weeks ago, flooding and two massive fires. The Community Crisis Recovery Center remains open through Thursday.