Photo by Leif Norman
In 2009, the University of Winnipeg tasked the University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation (UWCRC) and Sustainable Employment and Economic Development Winnipeg (SEED) to create a new business concept for campus dining that provides students with local, organic and healthy eating options. In early July 2009, an award-winning duo was hired: Kirsten Godbout, former general manager of the café Bread & Circuses, and Ben Kramer, formerly of Dandelion Eatery. Together they created a business plan for what became Diversity Food Services, based on the four pillars of sustainability: Environmental, Economic, Social and Cultural.
In July and August 2009, 21 people from ethnically diverse origins including Burma, Canada, Cuba, Ethiopia, First Nations, Moldavia, Nigeria, Philippines and Sudan began an intensive, four-week training program. Funded by Manitoba Labour and Immigration, Employment Manitoba and The United Way, the course covered areas such as customer service, time management skills, equipment usage, safe food handling, and cashier/cook duties. With the help of start-up loans from Assiniboine Credit Union backed by the Jubilee Fund, Diversity opened its doors to University of Winnipeg students and staff in September, 2009.