Melbourne dispatch - Kinfolk Cafe

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There is a hand-drawn sign just inside the door of Kinfolk, a little social enterprise cafe on Bourke Street in Melbourne, and this is what it says.

rules of kinfolk

allow yourself to BE you...open up to receiving generously and giving generously...

teach others with your smile, learn to let your heart sing, your soul

dance... savour every mouthful. give thanks. Take praise. DO

what you do best and enjoy it. Share. Care... sit a while... and come again...

I've been wanting to share Kinfolk with you for literally years. It was one of my favourite places to go eat and read a book when we first moved to Melbourne, before I had kids and had to factor pram-parking into my eateries of choice. You'll find it right down the bottom of Bourke Street, near Southern Cross Station, so it's also where I used to meet friends visiting from interstate or overseas, giving them somewhere lovely to relax after they stepped off the airport bus and before we had to board the tram.

Run with the help of up to 30 volunteers, Kinfolk is a not-for-profit space, directing its income between development projects for communities in need in Rwanda, Ghana, Palm Island and Melbourne. Customers can choose where they would like the profit from their meal to go by popping a coffee bean into a jar, or trust Kinfolk to distribute it where it's most needed.

As you'd expect, the food is seasonal and wherever possible organic, biodynamic, locally-sourced and fair-trade managed. Oh and delicious. What you see on my plate is a chicken tagine with seasonal vegetables, but there are always vegetarian and vegan options on the menu too.

Last year they ran a crowd-funding campaign and successfully raised enough money to lease the space behind the cafe, enabling them to install a commercial kitchen, build on the catering side of the business, expand the menu, add 30 percent more table seating, and increase trading hours. Through all of this, they are now able to raise more profits for their project partners.

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