Monday, July 18, 2016

'One Million Acts of Kindness' to Visit Harmony Cafe

The Kindness Bus, photo courtesy of One Million Acts of Kindness Facebook Page

As the founder of One Million Acts of Kindness, Bob Votruba encourages children, teens, and young adults to take a kinder approach to life and make it their goal to commit one million good deeds throughout their lifetimes! Bob’s focus is spread kindness, empathy, and generosity and instill these values into the next generation which he lovingly refers to as "The Kindness Generation." 

Bob's message is a fantastic one that is much needed in our current social and political climate. He emphasizes the importance of helping others on a small scale in order to make a big impact. Bob's website states, "If each one of us, day by day, shared acts of kindness with those we know and those we don't would the world change?" 

By encouraging individuals to participate in small acts of kindness, he has turned "making a difference" into a fun and attainable activity and not a daunting, impossible task. His focus on individual involvement within a movement makes it easy to participate in and encourages people to take the plunge by volunteering their time.

This is the very message that Harmony Cafe seeks to spread through its "Pay it Forward" culture. By donating a little more than the suggested amount, you could make a difference in the life of someone unable to pay for their meal. There are countless ways to spread the message of love and compassion for members of the community and Bob's presence at Harmony Cafe's lunch event on Thursday, July 21st will certainly inspire others to join the One Million Acts of Kindness movement. 

For more information, check out Bob Votruba's website or Facebook

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Summer Eating Tips

1. Fruit, Glorious Fruit!

My absolute favorite part of summer is the variety of ripe, delicious fruit that’s available. Watermelon, strawberries, pineapple, blackberries…it’s all in season so it’s all cheap and at the peak of flavor.

Combine watermelon, strawberries, and banana in a blender with a splash of orange juice and ice for a nutrient-dense and fabulous summer smoothie. Bonus! Add a handful of kale or spinach for added health benefits with no change to the sweet flavor.


Grilling is not only delicious, but it’s a healthy option for preparing an unlimited number of foods. Besides the usual hamburgers and hot dogs (which are severely lacking in the health department), vegetables like zucchini, Portobello mushrooms, and peppers are amazing on the grill!

Slice peppers, zucchini, and/or mushrooms into strips and tuck them into a foil packet with a drizzle of olive oil and spices to taste. Seal the packet and grill it for 20 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Open it up and revel in the amazing natural flavors of summer.

3. Stay Hydrated

The most important and vastly overlooked summer tip is to stay hydrated! Higher temperatures mean that the body loses water at an accelerated rate. Water is necessary not only for the proper function of organs in the body, but for healing that wicked sunburn as well!

Not a fan of plain water? Freeze lemon and cucumber slices and toss them in your water bottle with fresh mint leaves for a 0 calorie spa water experience for only a few dollars. Frozen berries are another great option to keep your water cool with just a hint of flavor. 

"Farm-to-Table": More Than a Hipster Buzzword

When some people hear the phrase “farm-to-table,” they roll their eyes and assume that Whole Foods is trying a new gimmick to up-charge factory-free nectarines or grass-fed rutabaga. The fact of the matter is that farm-to-table is a sustainable production method which has been practiced for very nearly the entire existence of mankind. It’s true! In fact, before the Industrial Revolution pushed people into urban city settings, most people got their food locally (within 50 miles) of their home. The benefits of farm-to-table practice extend over a range of categories including economic, environmental, and health-related.

By focusing on locally-sourced produce, you are giving back directly to the community by benefiting small farmers. You’re directly impacting the economy by keeping your money where you will benefit from it the most. According to, “Local business owners are more likely to give back to your community.” Because they live in the same community, it’s only logical that they would spend the money they earned to enroll their children in local activities, or buy their clothes locally. By keeping the money in the local economy, that economy is strengthened and everyone in the community benefits from it.

On an environmental level, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions along with their link to global warming could be reduced by shifting the focus to locally-grown produce. Most food produced in the United States endures a journey of a thousand miles or more from where it was grown to your dinner plate. The more distance that the food needs to travel the more fuel is used, and the more emissions are released into the air. Not only does it diminish the quality of the food (bumps and bruises along the journey), but farmers are forced to pick their produce ahead of their optimal ripeness in order to be sure that they will survive the journey. By reducing the distance from farm-to-table, one can cut down on their carbon footprint by being more aware of where their food is coming from.

This brings me to my last point about farm-to-table, and that is the nutritional factor. When growers allow their produce to reach the optimal level of maturity, then the fruits and vegetables themselves are able to extract the maximum amount of nutrients from the soil before being harvested. Without traveling long distances, they do not need to be treated with chemicals to keep them from rotting too quickly, and they are delivered to local restaurants on average within 24-48 hours. This means that restaurants that get their food locally serve more nutrient-dense meals to their patrons.

Buying local produce is more than a marketing ploy; it’s a way to breathe life into the community and keep people educated about where their food comes from and why that matters. By becoming more conscious about the impact that buying local has, it’s becomes possible to reclaim that prosperity and pump it into local communities.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Lets End Food Waste!

Americans dump up to 40% of food in the cycle of farm to table to landfill according to the an article by the NRDC

"Much of the dumping can be pinned to arbitrary sell-by dates and aesthetic criteria formally and informally governing the food that makes it to market," states Clay Aldern in an article for

"Many supermarkets throw expired food out even before its sell by date, and they don't donate it, due to a fear of being sued," states John Oliver in the video above. 

Addressing the American food waste issue is a goal of Harmony Cafe's as well as other community cafes around the United States. 

One of the core values of the One World Everybody Eats Community Cafe guidelines is:
"Patrons choose own portion size - You can offer small, medium and large plates, mindful portion sizes, buffet or cafeteria style. This helps eliminate food waste, curb overeating and supports your customer in adhering to their personal budget."
By allowing the customer to choose their own portions, less food is thrown away if it is not eaten by the consumer. 

Similarly, The Real Junk Food Project, out of Armley, West Yorkshire, England, is a cafe founded on the principle of ending food waste. They use left over food, or food close to expiration date, from cafes and restaurants to help end food waste and feed the hungry. 

"Nutrition is also lost in the mix - food saved by reducing losses by just 15% could feed more than 25 million Americans every year, at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables." - NRDC
 So what do you say? Lets work together to end food waste, as well as food insecurity. 

All donations to Harmony Cafe of any size are welcome, and will be used to help get us out of the start up phase, and to help end food waste. 

Visit to learn more about us. 

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Why should we eat locally?

Harmony Cafe aims to encourage and support local agriculture and business. Through donations and fundraising, our mission is to provide you with food directly from local farms – and when possible, organic.

Photo from

So, as eating local food continues to grow in trend, the questions beg: Why eat local? What are the benefits?

1. Freshness. Local fruits and vegetables are usually harvested and sold more quickly so they do not contain the preservatives that are added to products shipped long distances and placed in storage.

2. Taste. Produce that is ripened on the vine has better texture and flavor than produce harvested unripe, then treated with chemicals and ripened during shipping.

3. Nutrition. Nutritional value declines — often drastically — as time passes after harvesting.

4. Improving the local economy. When you buy homegrown food, you circulate your food dollars inside the local area.

5. Strengthening producer/consumer relations. When purchasing food locally, consumers can ask how the product was grown and processed, what chemicals (if any) were used, and any other questions they may have. People tend to trust individuals they know, and they become repeat buyers.”

Supporting, volunteering and buying food from Harmony Cafe will help strengthen communal relations – not only between farmer and consumer but also, between members of the very community in which Harmony Cafe exists.

We aim to create a social, collective and supportive atmosphere – buying, selling, using and consuming local food is just one small piece in the jigsaw puzzle of community that Harmony Cafe is seeking to create.

How can you get involved in the local food movement?

Visit farmers markets and community cafes to enjoy better food for the same value.

Below is a link to farmers markets in Suffolk and Nassau County for the summer of 2015.

Port Jefferson, NY Farmer's Market

On our website, donations of any size are welcome. They will be used to support farmers in our area, by bringing their produce into Harmony Cafe when we open.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

So what exactly is the ‘Community Cafe’ Movement?

            Rather than a cash register, a donation system. Rather than set prices, suggested prices. Earn a little extra this week? Put down a little more for your food to ‘pay it forward’ for someone who cannot afford the suggested price. Can’t afford the suggested price that day? Pay for your food in the form of volunteering.
            This is what Denise Cerreta envisioned when she opened the first community café in 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. This community café created a revolutionary way to fight hunger at the local level. Since 2003 Denise, along with the One World Everybody Eats Foundation, which she founded, has directly or indirectly helped launch over 50 community cafes, and is mentoring over 20 cafes currently in the planning stage.

One World Everybody Eats Cafe, Salt Lake City, Utah

            The philosophy of the Community Cafe Movement is that everyone, regardless of economic status, deserves the chance to eat healthy food while being treated with dignity.
            There are multiple ways to pay for your food and get engaged in the Community Cafe Movement:
1.     Pay what you can afford. If unable to pay, give your time in service as payment.
2.     Pay the full amount of the suggested price.
3.     Pay the full amount of the suggested price, plus a little extra to ‘pay it forward.’
4.     Give your time in service to ‘pay it forward’ so your neighbor can enjoy a meal.
With no community cafes on Long Island, Harmony Cafe aims to be the first. Operating as a not-for-profit organization, Harmony Cafe will be more than just a café. It will be a safe space for all members of the community to come together in unity – a place to connect with others. Not only will it serve delicious homemade, locally sourced food, but it will help fight hunger and unite people of all socio-economic divisions – while simultaneously destroying those very divisions.

As seen in the video above, Harmony Cafe holds a very specific vision, similar to One World Everybody Eats:
·      No set prices
·      No set menu – the menu will change depending on what foods are in season
·      Support local farmers
·      Provide nutritious and delicious meals
·      Allow people to choose their own portions to minimize waste
·      Work towards eliminating local hunger
·      Encourage volunteerism
·      Provide job training skills
·      Promote local artists and musicians
·      Support community events
·      Build a community garden
Harmony Cafe is motivated to break down social barriers surrounding hunger and socio-economic hardships people endure. All are welcome at our community café and community table.
As Harmony Cafe is still very much in the planning and organizing stage, all donations are welcome and will go towards finding and securing a location and food donors

Interested in getting involved? Harmony Cafe will be holding a fundraiser later in the summer – all are welcome.

You can follow Harmony Cafe on this blog at, on Facebook, and on Twitter