Pure Café opened in 2011 in a small centre just outside the main business area of Greyton. It was not a busy area but the rentals were low in order to provide affordable retail outlets for emerging entrepreneurs and for non-profits.
The first few years were very difficult as we battled with the location and the very niche vegan market we operated within. Over time we were able to bring many improvements to the plain centre, adding fountains, gazebos and filling the whole area with planters in which we grow vegetables and herbs for the café.
Nine years later and the centre has become a thriving and popular must-visit attraction in Greyton. During the strict lockdown period the café turned overnight into a shop and now operates as both a shop and a café selling vegan products and meals.
The shop exists as a part of the sanctuary, with the focus on sustainability rather than generating profits as we want to make vegan food affordable and create an outlet for the many surplus organic vegetables being generated by the community under the Valley Food Gardens Project managed by another non-profit, Greyton Transition Town. All six schools in the area have vegetable gardens and three are generating sufficient surplus to sell at the Saturday morning farmers market and a mid-week market held at the centre. We also want to showcase delicious vegan meals to demonstrate that we can be healthy, that we can not only survive but thrive, with all our nutritional needs met, without causing any suffering towards animals.
A staff of five run the café from 8 to 4 every day, serving breakfast, lunch, baked goods and excellent coffee. All staff members have received training in vegan cooking, having attended courses elsewhere or through hosting vegan chefs in the café for a few weeks or months. We are particularly indebted to chef Norah Hudson of ELL269 who spent five months at Pure Café, transforming the menu and making the business sustainable.