Every Friday from 12:30-2:00 PM, a bright yellow door in the heart of Milton-Parc leads the way to affordable, vegan meals. On November 11, the Rabbit Hole Café officially reopened for the academic year. It operates out of the Yellow Door, a community organization that promotes intergenerational social inclusion, located at 3625 rue Aylmer.
The Rabbit Hole Café is a long-running vegan collective kitchen that provides inexpensive meals for community members during the academic year. The service is cash-only and they ask visitors to either bring their own container or eat in the coffeehouse downstairs.
This year, it is run by four dedicated and kitchen-trained volunteers who oversee the entire food preparation and serving process. Nicky DiCaprio, Admin and Communications Coordinator for the Yellow Door, told the Daily that “they all have cooking experience […] and are trained in food safety and cleanliness, so they’re trustworthy, and it’s just seriously so good. Everything they make is with love.”
In an interview with the Daily, Rabbit Hole volunteer, Viva Noronha explained that the café was “the perfect intersection of cooking as a passion as well as just spreading my love for food to the community.” Noronha described that the kitchen works very collaboratively, “I stir a pot, I wash some dishes, I drain the beans [..] if anybody needs help, we help them.”
Noronha expressed that “everyone has been really receptive to the food.” So far, they have served a $3 Indian chickpea curry, $3 homemade squash ravioli, and $4 Cuban congrí, as well as $1-2 desserts. “The chickpea curry we did was my mom’s recipe, so that was very close to my heart,” Noronha said. “It was really empowering to see people just enjoying food that I grew up eating.”
Both Noronha and DiCaprio emphasized the need for services like this in the McGill community. “With inflation prices being crazy, like grocery prices are insane, I think this is a really good resource for students,” DiCaprio stated. “To eat healthy is super expensive these days. So this gives students and the whole community an affordable, vegan, delicious, warm meal.”
McGill currently operates under an exclusivity agreement with the Compass Group. Some students claim that privatization has led to a decrease in diverse and affordable food options on campus. Noronha also pointed out the Compass Group’s role in the prison-industrial complex, as it provides food services to correctional facilities in Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario.
In contrast to most of McGill’s food services, Noronha explained that Rabbit Hole allows “community members to gather and really enjoy and respect the food they’re eating and know where it’s coming from, [which is] maybe the main reason why I wanted to do this.” McGill students can also take advantage of Midnight Kitchen’s free weekly vegan meal servings or register for the SSMU Pilot Grocery Program before November 30th.
Community members interested in becoming involved with the Yellow Door are able to participate in their free intergenerational wellness initiatives, such as the Art Hive, their reading groups, or Friday Night «Hootenanny» Open Stage music events. They can also volunteer with the Generations program, which pairs them with a senior to provide support to.
The Rabbit Hole’s last lunch service of the year will be this Friday, December 2, but they will be back January 6 for the Winter semester.