At a Homeward 2020 event last year, Jeff and Kathleen Baumgardner began discussing the idea of a pay-what-you-can café in Fort Collins. A year later, they’re now working to raise money to make this dream a reality.
After the taproom normally closes at 6 p.m., Odell Brewing Company will play host to a Grateful Dead cover band, Switchman Sleepin’, and a fundraising party. The proceeds will go toward the FoCo Café. There will be Odell beer — one for $5 or two for $8 — and dinner of chicken, beef or vegan portobello mushroom fajitas available for $8. Entry to the event is free.
“It’s very much a grassroots effort,” said Jeff. “We want to have a model other people can follow and invest their passion.”
According to Jeff, FoCo Café stands for Feeding Our Community Ourselves.
“We’re modelling FoCo Café after SAME Café in Denver, which actually stands for So All May Eat,” said Jeff. “The owners are friends of Kathleen and I; we’ve volunteered there, and we think the same model would work really well in Fort Collins because it’s such a progressive, generous town.”
“The café will be donation only; you can pay what you normally would for lunch or pay forward, pay what you can or pay with time and talent,” Jeff explained. “Those are our four methods of payment.”
“Those who pay normally will be the engine that drives this,” he said.
Success will be contingent on “how well the community embraces the café,” said Jeff. “If we allow the community to drive it forward, the community will own it.”
In terms of future events, Jeff said, “We’re planning the first annual FoCo Café Bike-In Farm Festival,” which is set to take place July 21.
“It’ll be a real nice opportunity for people in Fort Collins to ride their bikes on a nice day to a farm for some music,” said Jeff.
Jeff said he anticipates opening the café within the next year, though the nature of the effort makes it unclear exactly when that will be. For more information, go to http://fococafe.org, www.facebook.com/FoCoCafe, @FoCo_Cafe or sign up for their monthly newsletter.
Jeff said, “Everyone deserves to have that café experience, regardless of whether or not they can pay for it.”
Entertainment Editor Em Kribs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org