An Alliance for the Amazon: Joining Together to Fight for Change



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An Ecosystem in Need

The Amazon rainforest is one of the greatest natural wonders on this planet. It plays a vital role in regulating our global climate through absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen into our atmosphere. Millions of native species and indigenous peoples call the Amazon their home and right now, their home is under threat. As a result of illegal deforestation, logging, mining and ranching, the Amazon is experiencing a huge surge in wildfires this year (many intentionally started). ⁠Billions of trees are cut down each year to the benefit of agribusiness and large corporations, with little concern for the impact on communities, species and the climate. We must work to end this.

It’s important, now more than ever, that we fight to end deforestation and protect our forests so they can continue to regulate our climate for generations to come. Planting new trees is one way we can help. Every year our partners at Alter Eco partner with PUR Projet to plant trees with farmers in the Peruvian Amazon who grow their cacao to offset the company’s full carbon footprint. As important as this is for the overall health of our planet’s delicate ecosystems, a primary rainforest is impossible to replace. We have decided to join them this year in helping plant trees and other efforts to protect our forests. 

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An Alliance of Like-Minded Brands

That's why we're taking our first step in conservation efforts and joining a larger group of like-minded companies. The Town Kitchen, PBC is committing to protect one tree with every meal we sell for the months of September and October. We’re joined by our friends at Alter Eco Foods, Grove CollaborativeGaia Herbs, Bread SRSLY and All Good in these immediate conservation efforts. The goal of this alliance of brands is to protect over 3 million trees and 2,463 acres through this campaign.

Together, we’re beginning a project to protect and restore trees within an ecosystem that is vital to the Amazon region: the Biocorredor Martin Sagrado primary rainforest in Peru. This project will protect the trees from illegal logging and gold mining – a practice called ‘avoided deforestation.’ Our forests need protection, now more than ever, so they can continue to support our global climate the way they always have.

While this is just a small part of the world’s largest rainforest, we hope this inspires other businesses to think of ways they can have an impact as well. Business CAN be used as a force for good, and we encourage YOU to vote with your dollar by supporting companies fighting to protect our natural resources.

 




Strength in Numbers

While we’re only a few brands, we believe that there is more power in numbers. Through working together, we hope to raise awareness around this important message and reach a larger community of like-minded activists. We encourage everyone to help advocate for change by using their purchasing power to invest in companies with transparent, ethical supply chains and pressure companies who are knowingly contributing to deforestation to invest in rainforest-friendly policies. It’s true that each of us is just one small brand, but through collective action YOU can help us amplify our impact. Together we can preserve our forests, slow the pace of climate change, protect the homes of millions of people and save wildlife from extinction. Will you join us?




How you can join the fight

There are many small, but effective ways you can join the movement to preserve the Amazon.

  • Donate directly to an organization working on the frontline to support indigenous communities fighting to protect their land, such as Amazon Watch, Rainforest Trust, Earth Alliance or Rainforest Action Network.

  • Sign the Petition to stop the deforestation and exploitation of the Amazon.

  • Plant a tree in the Amazon through our partners at Pur Projet.

  • Put the pressure on your local elected officials. Let them know you want responsible climate action NOW.

  • Vote with your dollar and support companies with responsible, transparent supply chains. Avoid companies that are knowingly complicit in rainforest destruction. Ingredients like palm oil and soy are directly linked to rainforest destruction (reminder that many chocolate products use unnecessary non sustainable palm oil and soy lecithin). Make sure to avoid products sourced from Brazil, like beef and paper products. When buying wood products, look for a "Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)” seal to ensure it was sourced in a forest-friendly way.

  • Keep talking about this! It’s crucial that we don’t let this become yesterday’s news story. Stay informed and continue to educate others about what is happening. Unfortunately, there is a lot of disinformation circulating and corporate interest groups wish to downplay the severity of the problem. The more we can continue to speak about this tragedy, the better chance we have of ending this threat.

 




Partner Feature: Red Bay Coffee

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Beautiful Coffee to the People - Red Bay Coffee

Founded in 2014 by artist and food entrepreneur Keba Konte, Red Bay Coffee was the first partner to The Town Kitchen. We’ve been serving their delicious brew since 2015! Red Bay has been an essential partner in providing training and education to our youth interested in exploring a career in the coffee world. Their service to the Oakland community inspires us at The Town Kitchen to continue striving to expand our impact.

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Red Bay currently operates four locations:

East 10th St. in Oakland

Oakland Coffee Box - Broadway

Richmond Bart Station

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You can also find Red Bay Coffee at both of The Town Kitchen Cafe locations.

We look forward to continuing to deepen our partnership with Red Bay through partnerships both in our business and in the community.

Westward Bound! The Town Kitchen Expands to the Peninsula

The Town Kitchen Partners with the Sobrato Family Foundation for Non-Profits

We are so excited to announce the opening of our new facility in Redwood City! We’ll be operating a small cafe and fulfilling our Peninsula customers’ orders from the catering kitchen located onsite.

This additional production space will allow us to expand our impact to more families and communities on the Peninsula. We’ll also be incredibly close to some of our favorite customers and a lot closer to many more potential customers!

The Sobrato Family Foundation operates multiple facilities throughout the Bay Area that offer discounted office space and free conference and event space to non-profits.

If you’re interested in renting out the cafe for the day, please feel free to reach out to us directly or find us on peerspace. We’ll be spending the next month or so updating the space to better suit our needs, but look forward to seeing some more updates (with photos) very soon!

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Invest in The Town Kitchen

We’ve Launched a Crowdfunding Campaign on Republic!

What is Republic?

Republic is a new platform that allows both accredited and non-accredited investors to participate in fundraising for startups. Unlike some of the more familiar crowd funding platforms, Republic actually allows users to become part owners in the companies they contribute to. You can learn more about Republic on their how it works page!

Why are we running this campaign?

As anyone who’s familiar with our company and mission knows, we are committed to our community. We want to do as much as possible to continue growing our impact with as much support from our community as possible. Although the primary mission of the company will always remain intact via our PBC (Public Benefit Corporation) status, other financing tools have the potential to affect the short term direction of the company.

How can I help?

You can become an investor! The minimum investment amount is only $100 dollars. For higher levels of investment we have a few special perks, but please invest whatever you’re able. If you’re unable at this time to invest, please share our campaign on your social media channels. If you’re interested in sending an email out to your network, we have some great templates that you can use and tweak to your liking. Please reach out to hello@thetownkitchen.com if you would like those details.

What is the goal?

We hope to use the funds raised in this campaign to expand our impact throughout the Bay Area. There are many other communities in the region that are in need of youth focused programs and career development resources.

We look forward to interacting with our potential investors on the campaign page. Please feel free to register and ask questions of our leadership team on the discussion board.

MEET THE TOWN KITCHEN TEAM: NOELLE VALERA

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Get to know Noelle, our Lead Order Specialist! She’s been working with The Town Kitchen for the past six months. She’s an aspiring esthetician who enjoys spending time with her friends and adventuring in the outdoors.

How you hear about The Town Kitchen? What led you here?

I was first interested in TTK when I heard about the mission of the company and what it represents. I thought it was unique and inspiring and I wanted to be a part of it. 

What were your expectations with working with The Town Kitchen?

My expectations was that this would be an easy, simple job that I could do while looking for work in the beauty industry. My reality is that this job has been so much more to me than "something to get by" and I find myself entirely invested in this company that I've grown to adore!

How has your life changed with this new career path?

My life has changed drastically. I thought this would just be a job to pay the bills while I searched for my next esthetic position. I went to school for beauty and hold a masters esthetics license. At first, I felt guilty for "cheating" on my career and for not pursuing beauty and instead taking up something that was to me, random. I realized that my happiness is not determined by what I think I'm supposed to be doing. Instead, my happiness is right here right now in the present. If working at TTK makes me happy then that’s beautiful, and I felt I should hold on to it. 

What are your personal and career goals and how will you get there? How is The Town Kitchen preparing you?

When I finally felt like I found my groove at TTK, I set out for two goals, both of which I achieved within 6 months. I was no longer just a woman, a minority, naive or too young to achieve what I felt possible. All these things I've been told I was or treated as such at previous jobs. At TTK I feel wanted, validated, and respected. At 23 years old and being 4'10", it's hard to assert yourself in this world. TTK makes me forget that some might say I'm too young, too small or whatever. I received my first promotion ever at TTK from being a member of the operations team to now, operations team lead. I hope to continue to implement my ideas, learn new techniques, and grow with this company as they've given me the freedom to do. I'm learning new skills I would have never had the chance to dive into before, and for that I'm grateful. I work with extraordinary individuals who see past the social norm. What more could I ask for? I won't go into detail about my 10 page list of personal and career goals, but know that they ebb and flow with the wave of the company. I am able to set, achieve, and reset goals as each month brings new challenges and adventures. 


Serving Youth in Oakland

We recently spent some time creating a new video to promote our mission here at The Town Kitchen. We’ve pulled a few excerpts from the interviews with our founder Jefferson Sevilla, as well as a few quotes from our youth staff. Jefferson spends some time discussing how his vision for the company has evolved over the years. Our youth staff have an opportunity to share how The Town Kitchen has impacted their lives.

Q: Why did you start The Town Kitchen?

Jefferson: “With the Town Kitchen it was important for me to establish a company where we are building something for the greater good and we are bringing and helping people along the way by also teaching them new things about the food industry, where their food comes from, teaching them food justice as well as to appreciate everything that's being put in front of them. Experiencing a lot of these environments have allowed me to pass down some information that I feel is vital and important for young people to learn.”

Q: What’s the most important thing you do at The Town Kitchen?
Jefferson: ”One of the most important things I also think important of what the Town Kitchen does is we provide a life skill or we provide training for a life skill. Food or cooking in general is something that brings all cultures and lives together and it's something that speaks unanimously and for the positive and I think what a lot of young people have a lack of experience or knowledge of is where their food comes from, how to prepare food from its raw state, just how cultures intertwine together based on the food of their countries.”

Q: What made you want to join The Town Kitchen?

Tristan: “I joined the Town Kitchen primarily based off of their message which was taking in reentry youth and foster youth and wanting to give back to the community, giving them opportunities from really no experience and just having the workspace to grow and accept whatever mistakes or hiccups you have along the way acknowledging that, I messed up or I could have done better in a way that's progressive and meant to improve myself but also acknowledge I have a opportunity to grow at this company without feeling like I'm under attack or just being berated if it was some other company because you don't really get that experience that's, "I'm looking out for you, making sure you're performing at your best", but also acknowledging when you mess up. How can we improve, how can we grow from this and make sure it doesn't happen again? You don't get that with a lot of companies because some companies are just in it to make money.”

Q: What’s it like being able to work at a company like this in your hometown?

Edna: Edna: “Being here in Oakland I think it really has distinguished what it really means to be from here. When I get asked this question many times I get a stereotype directed towards me simply because they know of what's going on in the news, politically, and just different things that go on here in terms of violence here in the city of Oakland. I think when I present to them what company that I am part of, just simply saying that I'm from the Town Kitchen, I start to say what this company's about and I think it really brings a different type of image to what we're trying to construct and the type of impact that we're doing to not only for now, but also in the long term.”

We continue to strive to introduce our youth to opportunities within the organization as well as without. With help from our partners we’re able to expand the networks of all TTK staff to help them grow in their personal and professional lives.

The Town Kitchen @ Chabot Space & Science Center

The Town Kitchen Cafe team stoked for our opening day!

The Town Kitchen Cafe team stoked for our opening day!

We’re open for business!

If you hadn’t heard the news yet, we’ve just embarked on a very exciting partnership with The Chabot Space & Science Center.

Located in the beautiful East Bay hills and surrounded by Redwood Regional Park, Chabot provides an awesome learning environment for kids and adults alike. The Town Kitchen will be providing and awesome food service experience at the cafe located inside the facility.

Our goal is to not only provide an awesome experience for Chabot’s guests coming to visit the Space and Science Center, but also to attract some new folks who maybe just want to swing through after a hike for a coffee or a quick bite to eat.

We’re providing a huge selection of snacks, beverages, and grab n’ go lunches. All cafe products sourced from our local vendor partners or produced in our HQ Kitchen @ 2325 E 12th St. Oakland, CA 94601.

If you’re interested in hanging out with us during First Friday, please mark your calendar. Plan not only to experience Chabot at night, but also food trucks & adult beverages.

Please check out Chabot’s other awesome events; they’re reasonably priced and fun for the whole family.

The Town Kitchen Menu - A New Look

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You may have noticed our menu has a new look!

Traditionally we’ve serviced our awesome customers with pre-set buffet options as well as boxed lunches, appetizers, desserts, and breakfast. Recently we decided to make the shift to an a la carte menu, allowing customers a much broader range of choices to feed their hungry teams.

We’ve removed our box lunches from the menu, but they’re still available to order for larger conferences or events. Please reach out to us on our chat (located in the bottom right hand corner) or email us at hello@thetownkitchen.com.

Why did we make these changes?

We encounter a lot of customers who really want to choose specifically what and how much they want to serve to their eaters. Our former style of menu had the unfortunate downside of not having a ton of flexibility to add or remove items from specific buffets. Don’t like cornbread with your BBQ Pulled Pork? Sorry, it’s a part of the package. Now customers have the ability to substitute any number of sides for corn bread (mac n cheese please!).

The box lunch has been a real stand by for our young business, but it has a lot of issues that we struggling with as a team. First and foremost - packaging waste. Although our food is packaged in all recyclable and compostable containers, we felt that removing box from the equation was the most impactful decision we could make for the environment. If you’re interested in ordering sandwiches or salads, don’t worry, they’re still available and can be ordered family style. If you’re really keen on having individual meals, please reach out and we’ll discuss the ordering parameters.

Seasonality

Offering a bimonthly rotating menu will allow us to curtail our purchasing decisions to what is most readily available to us from our local vendors. Look out for more interesting and short-season vegetables in our salads, entrees, and sandwiches.

Please feel free to drop us a line anytime with your feedback or comments at hello@thetownkitchen.com