Alternative Grounds Coffee House
333 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, ON, M6R 2M8
Before “organic” and “fair-trade” became buzz words, there was Alternative Grounds, a comfortable fair-trade coffee place in the centre of Little Poland.
|Cuisine Type |||Coffee Shop, Desserts|
|Ambiance |||Patio Dining, Quiet Conversation, Senior Appeal|
|Meals Served |||Light Meals/Snacks, Lunch|
|Amenities |||Wheelchair Accessible, Coffeehouses & Desserts|
|Pricing |||Less than $20|
|Payment |||MasterCard, Visa, Cash|
|Neighbourhood |||High Park|
|Getting There |||Dundas West Subway Station|
|Cross Street |||Grenadier Rd.|
|Mon–Thurs: 7AM–7PM; Fri: 7AM–8PM; Sat: 8AM–8PM; Sun: 8AM–7PM|
Profile Last Updated: July 11, 2008
When Alternative Grounds started in the mid-90s, phrases like “community activism” and “global responsibility” rarely extended to the notion of fair-trade produce and organic farming. Today, they go hand-in-hand, and Alternative Grounds remains at the forefront, proving that sustainable agriculture and respect for farmers can indeed produce a cup of coffee and a snack that’s hugely satisfying in more ways than one.
Turnabout is Fair-Trade
Fair-trade, which is about making sure farmers get a more equitable piece of the pie, is the name of the game at Alternative Grounds. With the business practice of dealing only in fair-trade goods, Alternative Grounds is a haven for the equity-minded not only do they sell only fair-trade coffee roasted in-house, the juice, sugar, rice, and teas are also fair-trade. And, almost everything is organic, with The Local Café supplying a variety of meals and snacks that are sourced from only locally grown, high quality, environmentally sound ingredients. Another supplier of homey goods like gingerbread and chocolate chip cookies is Lemon All Spice, a Toronto-based organization that employs only the developmentally challenged.
Coffee blends are a proprietary secret, with only the owner doing the hush-hush cupping and blending afterhours. “Beautiful Joe,” a full-bodied medium-dark blend, and “Black Beauty,” a smoky-tasting dark roast, are two blends that are enthusiastically recommended by idealistic staff.
Always a big supporter of the neighbourhood, Alternative Grounds opens itself up for community meetings. It holds a yearly, pre-Christmas Alternative Craft Fair with craft collectives participating to help both the Parkdale Community Centre and Sistering, a homeless women’s support group. Alternative Grounds is as much political affirmation as a coffee house, and about as guilt-free as you’ll get noshing on sweets and sipping a cup of joe.