Pay-what-you-can was introduced to our community by the cafe’s original owners, Wendy Wilson and Matt Ruthenberg of Vegetable Land. When Common Ground took over in January 2017, we felt the policy was integral to the business, and opted to continue it.
We know the concept makes some people uncomfortable. It’s not our intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Still, a certain discomfort is probably unavoidable if one wishes to change the way people think about food, and money, and an economy of fair exchange.
And we do so wish.
A policy of pay-what-you-can asks all of us — guests and hosts alike — to consider value in all its complexity. It asks us to be mindful of the food on our plates as well as the needs of others. We think those are all good things. We also like the quietly subversive nature of gathering people for a meal in a place where income does not determine who gets a seat at the table.
For what it’s worth, most people pay between $5 and $10 for a lunch in the café. Where you choose to place yourself on — or off — that scale is up to you.
If you would like to contribute to our pay-it-forward fund to help cover the cost of a meal for someone else, please visit our Paypal account and leave a donation in any amount. You can do so anonymously, if you choose. Thank you for your support.