Plastic-Free Spotlight: The Dandelion Cafe

Meet The Dandelion Cafe. A cafe that truly embodies the essence of its namesake; a bright, colourful disruption within the monotone shades of the norm. Much like the rogue, little yellow flower, this cafe is a bit different and unexpected, popping up in our backyard and packing a wealth of unexpected healthy goodness. However, unlike the underappreciated dandelion flower, this new hot spot, located in the heart of Ramsay, is extremely welcome in our yards because they’re serving up healthy, delicious, vegan meals, with less waste and zero plastic.

This brand new cafe is bringing a whole new world to the Calgary scene. Not only is this cafe offering plant-based comfort food to feed your soul, but they have healing drinks for your mind and body. Here to help create community and support local artistry along with the intention to lower their ecological foot print and aim to be as zero waste this cafe is a leader! They have already proven this commitment by being the sponsor of our special speaker event featuring Jeff Kirschner, CEO & Founder of Litterati! (it’s tomorrow evening with tickets still availble, HERE)

You need to see it to believe it, but this concept is here to shake up what we thought we knew about cafe’s.  Here’s hoping the seeds from this flower spread far and wide!

Read more from owner Bryce Currie, on the Dandelion and everything that makes it tick!

Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself, your products and how your company came about?
The original intention was to have a small cafe with Kombucha, teas, workshops and a zero waste initiative. Over the course of time the concept morphed into plant-based brunches and snacks, which we are now known for throughout the city.

What is your biggest driver for being sustainable?
Faith that change is coming.
How have you managed to embed sustainable thinking within your company?
One thing we are focusing on is that customers need to bring your own container in if you want food to go. We are also working on an exchange model with mason jars. For example, if you buy a frozen soup from us, you will pay a deposit and can get it back when the mason jar is returned. We still have a long way to go internally and trying to look at small wins along the way helps from getting overwhelmed.

What are the biggest sustainability challenges you face personally and professionally? Supply chain on both levels. Almost everything is in plastic or has been in plastic. It is never ending. It is also becoming more and more obvious that re-using and reducing are working, recycling has a lot of problems, and is not the answer.

What is one thing you have done at your company to drive sustainability that other businesses could replicate as best practice?
Straws are the easiest. Removing automatic straw service from your business, either offering a compostable straw-on-request service or serving no straws at all, is a simple achievable first step. (for more info on going straw-less, check out Last Straw Calgary for a growing list of businesses that have already done this!)

What have you done outside of work to live a more sustainable life?
It’s a work in progress and every small action counts. One small thing I try to avoid is plastic lids on coffee cups. I get weird looks all the time.

Which sustainable action or change you’ve made in your life are you most proud of?
Probably helping to be part of the Dandelion. It is a working experiment and I enjoy that our team is open to just about anything, and is have an open minded tribe.

What is your “guilty” habit that just isn’t very sustainable? How do you plan to change it if you could?
I often forget to bring my plastic or re-usable bags to the grocery store. I believe, for myself at least, that if the penalty for using a plastic bag were high enough (say we enforced $1 per bag) the habit  might be persuaded to change. I know I probably would do a better job.

In one phrase, what does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability means looking at how every action we make will affect 7 generations down the road; when you think about how a decision may affect the tribe in 7 generations, then work that back to the current moment, every decision in life becomes easier to make.

Can you provide three top tips for others trying to lead more sustainable lives and reduce their waste?
Do your best but be sure to forgive yourself daily. Try to avoid plastic straws and plastic one time use bottles, and understand that the system has forced us into a plastic existence.

Bonus: Share the love – Which businesses besides your wonderful company would you recommend to help people reduce their waste?

The little coconut stand in Nosara, Costa Rica, where the vendor offered to charge me .50 cents for a bamboo straw because they wanted to keep plastic off the earth and out of the oceans. They didn’t even have an option to get plastic. Meanwhile the stand further down the beach was still giving away plastic straws. So, my vendor was making more money, and helping the environment. Smart.

This post is part of a segment on our blog that features amazing, sustainable businesses and the eco-warriors behind them. Through this segment we strive to introduce you to new plastic-free alternatives and share new, attainable ways to reduce your plastic consumption and help the environment. 

Click here for more Plastic-Free Spotlight features. 

If you are a business interested in being featured in one of our Spotlights, please contact us for more information:

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I'm a passionate environmentalist at heart. Striving to create a difference in my community and in my home to make the world just a little bit better.