Work to open the nonprofit One Acre Cafe is off and running.
Since signing a five-year lease on the former Desert Rose Mexican restaurant building, at 603 W. Walnut St., in early April, the cafe’s board of directors have met twice and approved plans for the building’s renovation and interior design.
The plans were drawn up at no cost by green home architect Tom Mozen, of Mozen Etc., and designers Ginger Rockett and Megan Bolin, of Bella Casa Design Studio.
Cafe director Jan Orchard said the renovation plans will be broken down into workable, step-by-step projects for hands-on volunteer work days to begin soon. On the board’s request, the interior design is homey and comfortable and plans for the layout will be ready to share with the public within the next week.
The first of two loads of kitchen equipment donated to the cafe by Eastman Chemical Co. was picked up and delivered Friday. The cafe’s website is up and running at www.oneacrecafe.org and updates on its progress are being posted regularly on the One Acre Cafe Facebook page.
Orchard said community support for the renovation and for more kitchen furnishings will be needed as volunteers set to work cleaning and renovating the building.
“We want to get people in there to eat. We are still planning for a soft opening in September and hard opening probably in October.”
An affiliate of the national One World Everybody Eats hunger-fighting and community-building program, the cafe will address the risk of hunger experienced by 20 percent of the region’s residents through feeding, employment training and volunteerism.
The menu will feature locally grown products. And everyone will be welcome “to eat what they want and pay what they can.” Those who cannot pay will be given an opportunity to work for an hour to pay and to gain job skills and experience by volunteering on an ongoing basis in the cafe’s operation.
Volunteer teams are being organized for the renovation and those interested in helping are invited to send their name, phone number, email address and areas of expertise to firstname.lastname@example.org, call Orchard at 833-8033 or email email@example.com, or call Michelle Watts, cafe administrator, at 218-7900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cafe remains in immediate need of a commercial gas stove.
Tax-deductible donations to help with its opening may be made by mail to P.O. Box 3411, Johnson City, TN 37602. Checks should be made payable to Summit Leadership Foundation and earmarked for One Acre Cafe.