Help Yourself Cafe is a hub of healthy food and conscious living, soon to include to an organic market, juice bar and education
‘Help Yourself’ is a bustling organic café and soon to be market place in the heart of old town Key West. www.helpyourselfcafe.com
I founded ‘Help Yourself’ over three years ago with a vision of creating a community hub centered on the message of good food, nutrition and healthy living! At Help Yourself we focus on ‘real food’ using organic ingredients, nothing refined, processed or modified and we make everything from scratch.
Our Kick Starter appeal is calling for help in transforming an old Laundromat space attached to our little café into an organic market filled with fresh produce, ingredients and a fresh juice/smoothie bar. There are currently very few places to buy fresh local and organic foods in Key West so the need for a market dedicated to health filled foods is great, not only for the community that lives here but also the 2.6 million visitors that Key West hosts annually.
So far we have raised over $30,000 from within our local community that has enabled us to get the project started. All funds raised, whether investment loans or donations, have been kept separate from the cafe operations and dedicated solely to the new market project. We have used the money raised carefully and wisely, with our vision of a functional, energy efficient, sustainable organic market as a blueprint. The $30,000 needed to wrap up this project includes final contractor and material fees (aprox $7,000), final installment on walk-in cooler ($13,000), refrigeration installation (approx. $5,000), plus food storage bins and equipment (approx $5,000).
Please enjoy our video and read below for more detailed information about our project and how you can help in this positive shift to healthy lifestyles.
I’m Charlie Wilson and Help Yourself Café was inspired by my personal journey out of an unhealthy lifestyle. After studying at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York and working in a raw organic restaurant in the city I set out on a journey to share the benefits of healthy food with others. In the process it has become clear to me that organic and locally sourced foods not only support healthy lifestyles, but also promote a healthy planet.
Through the promotion of healthy lifestyles and conscious living, Help Yourself has grown into a networking hub of people dedicated to positive transformation. Whether it’s found in personal health benefits or ultimately the positive transformation of our relationship to life, each other and the Planet, Help Yourself inspires and changes lives.
After three and half years we all felt Help Yourself was ready to take a big step in creating awareness and access to the benefits of organic living and its implications for the future. Our little kitchen space was getting too cramped to offer full service to customers choosing to adopt healthy living options.
Along with our daily breakfasts and lunches the demand for our detox programs, meal plans, and events catering, outgrew our ability to effectively provide these options whilst operating the café 7 days a week in a tiny kitchen. In addition interest in cooking classes and fresh ingredients to cook at home was growing.
In response we began holding a weekly farmers market to give Key West’s residents access to fresh organic produce to take home.
Help Yourself @ Home
Meanwhile I had been holding a vision of one day transforming an old Laundromat attached to our café into a full time organic market, selling fresh produce and all the necessary and tasty ingredients to Help Yourself @ Home. A juice and smoothie bar, with cooking classes would complete the vision; freeing the kitchen to focus on the Café, detox and meal plan preps.
Two dramatic events helped make this a reality: Firstly our distributor stopped delivering organic produce to the Florida Keys, so rather than stop including organic ingredients in our delicious meals, I decided to create my own distribution network. Currently we drive almost 100 miles up the Florida Keys weekly to collect and then deliver fresh organic produce to our restaurant and several other stores and cafes along the way. By taking organic lemons and making organic lemonade we are now enabling other businesses in the Florida Keys to incorporate organic ingredients in their menu's and stores.
Next Door Laundromat
Secondly the owner of the next door laundromat decided it was time to close his business after 45 years of operation. When the Laundromat closed, I took a leap of faith and committed to taking the space over to create Help Yourself @ Home. I determined to seek alternative ways of raising money aligned with our ethic of community building and vitalization. In line with the new paradigm of socially inspired business we decided to appeal to the community to help us create a greater presence of healthy food and education.
Social Venture Capital
We reached out to the community of Key West with social venture capital models promoted by the Slow Food and Slow Money movements - http://www.slowmoney.org/ . In that initial appeal we were able to raise over $30,000 and get the ball rolling on a new level of food options and inspiration in the Florida Keys.
The Social Venture Capital was welcomed through the creation of interest free loans, donations and the purchase of Carrot Cash, our own interest bearing currency that is redeemable for produce and delicious meals.
Help 'Help Yourself' Continue to Grow
We are now appealing to our greater community to help Help Yourself continue to grow, share and educate in the model of socially responsible and healthy lifestyle choices.
As you can see in the video we have transformed the Laundromat into a space prepared to realize this goal, however many bills are outstanding for equipment and very importantly a truck to continue delivering organic food and goods.
We Are So Close
Time is ticking by and we need to open as soon as possible to start bringing in revenue. We are so close and with your help we can have the store open in just a couple of weeks.
Join the real food revolution and be a part of a powerful example of communities uniting for healthy lives and a healthy planet!!!
(For international pledges please add another $15.00 for the cost of shipping items overseas.)
Here is a look at how far we have come in the last three months!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.