… is to nourish the body, replenish the spirit, and grow the community so that all might be fed.
… is to see all of our community members, regardless of their means, dining together and supporting one another in building the strength and health of our community.
One Acre Café began as a dream in early 2012, when a group of friends decided they wanted to do something about the growing problem of hunger in our area. We learned about the success of community cafes sprouting up across the U.S. based on the model developed by the One World Everybody Eats Foundation [OWEE]. Providing an option to volunteer in lieu of payment seemed like a dignified option to hunger.
In April of 2012, the group travelled to F.A.R.M. Café in Boone, NC to meet Renee Boughman, their Executive Chef and Denise Cerreta, the founder of OWEE. We volunteered at the café and talked a lot about their journey and how we might bring this option to Johnson City. We continue to use both the OWEE Foundation and F.A.R.M. Café as a resource.
Most of our first year was spent raising funds and searching for a location that would be within walking distance of downtown Johnson City, the VA Medical Center and ETSU. In May of 2013, we signed a 5 year lease on the building at 603 West Walnut Street. Although the building was larger than we had originally planned, we realized the additional space would give us flexibility to offer the community space for special groups.
The dream literally took on a life of its own. The right people presented themselves at the right time: supportive landlords, a local architect, an interior design company, a local contractor, electricians, and many volunteers. There has been an overwhelming response from the community and local business owners through volunteerism and donations of building materials.
Staff Members at OAC
Michelle Watts, Executive Director
Amy Stout, Chef
Heather Logan, Volunteer Coordinator
Jessica Nichol, Cafe & Kitchen Assistant
Mark Setzer, Cafe Assistant