The Midnight Kitchen (MK), the non-profit, volunteer- and worker-run collective dedicated to providing pay-what-you-can vegan food, is closed until further notice due to mandatory renovations.
Originally expected to reopen within two weeks of the start of the semester, MK remains shuttered because of a problem currently facing many buildings on campus: rodents.
Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) VP Clubs & Services Stefan Fong characterized the closure as a proactive measure meant to protect the kitchen against any possible pest invasions.
Though MK is, as of most recent reports from Fong, vermin-free, rodent activity has increased in the Shatner bulding, as the recently-completed construction on McTavish and cold weather have forced the rodents to seek alternative housing.
Mice have been reported as far up as the third floor. Fong said that SSMU is addressing this issue head-on because of the extent of last years’ mouse infestation, which affected the entire building. MK has been closed because, as a food service, it is at high risk for an infestation. At this time, no other food services have been closed.
In addition to the potential rodent contamination, MK’s operational permit is also due to expire on January 21, reported Fong. Before MK can reopen, collective members are required to attend a certification course given by Quebec’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food, which will be offered before MK’s permit expires.
Ministry certification is a legal requirement for food service in Quebec, but it is something MK has trouble enforcing due to the high turnover of volunteers the collective sees each year.
While MK refused to comment on the issue, a message on the collective’s Facebook page indicated that the closure was “mostly out of the collective’s control.” The post also said that “SSMU is not permitting us to enter the kitchen or give out any food until these changes have been completed.”
This closure is not linked to the vandalism suffered by MK last semester, an issue which has, according to Fong, been resolved. However, the details behind the vandalism have not yet been disclosed publicly.
The kitchen will still be present in room 302 of SSMU on Mondays and Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. with free coffee and the occasional film.