Sustainable cafes brewing good food revolution
Food does more than just taste good at these planet-friendly Victorian cafes.
What does your daily coffee do? Does it wake you up? Get you going? Signal the start of another busy day? For Streat, every coffee they make and serve offers another disadvantaged young person a second shot at life.
The social enterprise has grown enormously since its humble beginnings when founders Bec Scott and Kate Barrelle ambitiously rolled a coffee cart into Melbourne’s Federation Square a decade ago. Now there are five coffee kiosks across the CBD, a restaurant, catering company, bakery, and coffee business.
Streat gives youths aged 16 to 24 a new beginning. At every stage of this unique enterprise you will find them, working as baristas, servers, bakers, pastry chefs and more.
“Our kids all have different backgrounds,” Streat deputy CEO Elise Bennetts explains. “From mental health issues, straight out of prison, we’ve got kids who have been subjected to domestic violence.”
Each Streat trainee embarks on a six-month life-changing training program, teaching them not only job skills, but life skills too.
“We see so many crisis organisations where they are fixing the issue that is at hand, but what it is not actually doing is providing a lifetime of opportunities for young people,” Elise adds. “Streat sees itself as that pathway from crisis to stability.
“We actually call our young people the most resilient young people we know because they have had to survive. When they reach us they are disenfranchised, they are sick of the system that they are in. It takes a lot of time to build trust to make sure that we can provide them with an opportunity and they can see a future and thrive.”
The relationship between Streat and its graduates does not end after the six-month training course.
“We pride ourselves that Streat is somewhere for them to belong for life,” said Elise. “We never say ‘goodbye’ to anybody, if there is something that goes wrong they can always come back here, we are a soft place to land at all times.”
RACV is proud to be one of Streat’s many corporate partners. There’s a Streat coffee kiosk in the foyer of our Bourke Street headquarters, and we’ve helped by donating a van and more recently installing solar panels at Streat’s Cromwell Street headquarters in Collingwood.
“We’re not 100 per cent sustainable at the moment with our businesses and it is our corporate partners who make us viable,” Elise explains.
So next time you grab a brew consider this…
“We know that there’s 24 different ways that you can do good by buying one cup of coffee at Streat, we’ve mapped it,” says Elise. “Just by doing something that you do every single day is creating 24 areas of goodness, one of those obviously is to train a young person when they’re giving you that coffee.”