Remember last time when I blogged about having a U of T secret?

I have another.  And this one is delicious.

Hot Yam! (HY!) ( is a student-run initiative started by a group of friends in 2007 with a goal to advocate for eating seasonally, organically, and locally.  An entirely vegan project, HY! is run by volunteers on a weekly basis who help to create and serve meals every Wednesday at the Centre of International Experience (33 St. George St.) for only $ 4!

Okay, maybe it isn’t such a big secret after all, judging by the big crowd that gathered!

I indulged in a 4-component meal: soup, green salad, grain-based salad, and dessert.  Incidentally, I went on Pi Day (March 14th) and was pleased to see the volunteer meal leads of the week had accommodated for both Pi Day and St. Patrick’s Day.  Serving Pot O’ Gold Soup, Famine-No-More Root Veggies, Orange ‘n’ Green Slaw, and Apple “Pi” Cookies for dessert, the meal was both satisfying, healthy, and fun.


Menu outside the CIE and my yummy meal.

By providing affordable, mostly organic, mostly local and entirely vegan meals, Hot Yam! aims to promote accessibility (vegan food is accessible to folks of all dietary preferences) and sustainability (with organic produce sourced from local farmers and plant-based diets being friendly to the environment).

Additionally, HY! aims to show that vegan food can not only be delicious and flavourful, but also easy and affordable to make, contrary to popular belief.  Super attainable, most of the produce is from Kawartha Ecological Growers, a collective of small-scale family farms in Ontario, and other oils, spices, and baking supplies come from natural food stores in Kensington Market.

Some of the foods even come straight from the Dig In! Campus Agriculture Group, a network of urban growing projects on UofT campuses. Bet you didn’t know there are plots at Sid Smith, Hart House, Med Sci, a new greenhouse at Anthropology building, and even New College amongst numerous other locations on campus. With the weather warming up, Dig In will be starting to plant soon and will be looking for volunteers – be sure to check out their website for more information to get involved!

The success of Hot Yam! has been monumental.  From an initiative started by a group of friends to a weekly event that consists of numerous volunteers (and new ones are always welcome!), Hot Yam has recently expanded and a goal of attaining a full-time café has been achieved. Harvest Noon  is a neighbour to New College, located right at the G.S.U. Pub at 16 Bancroft Ave.  Almost entirely vegan (with the exception of milk that’s available for coffee and rea), Harvest Noon is open 10AM – 2PM daily Monday – Friday, with full lunches at only , and muffins, tea and coffee throughout the day!

Well-hidden, be the friend in your group who starts the trend of eating at Harvest Noon!

I don’t know how many more secrets I can tell you, to be honest.  Finding healthy and affordable foods on campus is like finding a needle in a haystack – but not anymore! Make sure to stop by Hot Yam! on Wednesdays between 12 – 2PM and check out Harvest Noon any day of the week – it’ll be worth it!

Special shout out to Sarah for debriefing me on HY, Harvest Noon, and Dig In – thanks!