Our story began in 1997 with the creation of the UBC Natural Food Co-op, a bulk buying food co-operative which in 2004 moved to the SUB and opened Sprouts, a student-run grocery store.

In 2008, Sprouts was renovated and re-opened as a volunteer-run café, store, and community space serving hot lunches, coffee, and baked goods and selling organic, locally-grown produce and minimally-packaged staple and snack items. Sprouts also runs a bulk buying club, a Sprouts box delivery program, and hosts Community Eats, a by-donation lunch on Fridays.

In 2013 seedlings cafe opened in the penthouse of the Thea Koerner House.

After a fundraising campaign renovations to the Life building, Sprouts cafe and grocery location opened in January 2019.

As a non-profit and volunteer-run business, our profitable endeavors – Sprouts cafe and grocery store, and The Sprouts Box – are able to support our educational and outreach programs – Community Eats and Sprouts Workshops. Come visit us and you will find a friendly and warm space where everyone is welcome to enjoy that time-honoured combination of good food and good company.

Read more about Sprouts’ early history here.

At Sprouts we strive to:

  • make local, organic, and fair-trade foods accessible to the UBC community

  • promote and increase awareness of the UBC Farm, and other local food producers practicing sustainable farming techniques

  • promote and support fair economic development abroad by fostering discussion around the complexities of global trade

  • provide a diversity of people with high quality leadership and job skills

  • operate a business where ethics, the environment, and social responsibility take precedence over profits

  • create educational opportunities around health and nutrition, sustainable food systems, and global trade; fostering critical thought and ethical global citizenship

  • create an aware community at UBC bound together by a common love of good food, positive social change, and a sense of collective responsibility

Our Food

We believe that the best food comes with an active understanding and involvement in the processes bringing it to our plates. Everyone needs food, so the questions surrounding responsible consumption are of vital importance. But how do we strike a balance between the sometimes competing demands of organic, local, fair-trade, minimal packaging, special dietary needs, and affordability? The volunteers at Sprouts are excited about engaging in this discussion and its possibilities.

Local and seasonal produce, bulk dried goods, and a selection of minimally packaged snack foods and juices. Much of our volunteer energy goes into making our soups, breads and baked goods in the AMS kitchens. The volunteers develop their food preparation skills and share cooking knowledge, and Sprouts customers get to enjoy delicious and affordable lunches and snacks.

At Sprouts we do not offer any take-away containers for our soups or baked goods, but we do have an interesting selection of real bowls and plates to choose from and tables at which you may sit and enjoy your food. Our fair trade coffee is only 75 cents, but we ask that you bring your own mug or stay and drink it with us.

As an organization run entirely by student volunteers, Sprouts is an exciting and engaging business. We are not for profit and the entire project is fuelled by a dedicated group of student volunteers, with all profits going back into our projects and the organization’s development. Slow down to enjoy the food and people, ask questions, and please introduce yourself. If you are interested in getting involved check out our volunteer opportunities.