The Sleepless Goat has been a well-known Kingston haunt for twenty years. In 1999, The Goat became a worker’s co-operative, meaning the business is owned and democratically run by those who work there. Each employee is given a vote when decisions are made and they draw on eachother’s varying skills, experiences and interests to create employment for themselves and a work atmosphere that is based in trust, solidarity and equality.
These values extend to how The Goat serves the community as well. In addition to their commitment to social and environmental sustainability and ethically sound business practices, this welcoming, colourful and charming cafe also commits to being a safe space for all, and to providing food to anyone and everyone, as outlined in their mission statement:
We acknowledge the basic right of every person to food, and will provide high-quality, healthy and affordable food in a warm and safe environment to our guests, regardless of their economic reality. Those who cannot afford to pay will be given their meals with the same dignity and respect as any other guests. We affirm the economy of the gift over and against the absolute commodification of our planet and our daily lives.
This mandate of acceptance and security has proven successful in the 15 years that The Sleepless Goat has run in this fashion. One of the ways The Goat lives up to its vision is through their free soup program. Anyone can go into the cafe and get the daily soup free of charge just by asking for it, and they can enjoy it in the cafe just like any paying customer – no strings attached. The program has no budget and is mostly subsidized by paying customers. In general, the program breaks even, however, like many businesses, hard economic times have made the soup program difficult to sustain. Although the discussion of cutting the program to save costs has come up, workers have always found a way to make it work because they believe in it so strongly.
This past month, The Sleepless Goat has been hosting various fundraising events to help support the soup program. On March 1st, DJ YOLO held a dance party, on March 13th professor Steven Moore gave a talk on “Human Alternatives to the Corporate Straitjacket” and another talk was given on March 20th by postdoctoral fellow Zipporah Weisberg on “Humane Farming and the Issue of ‘Species Rights'”.
The grand finale will take place this Saturday, March 29th at 8pm and will feature musical performances by Old Haunt, A Cat Named Wolf and experimental cellist Mark Molnar. Cover is by donation with a suggestion of $10, but as always at The Goat, no one will be turned away.
Thanks to Mr. TinDC for today’s pic.