Arthur and Anya Gordon at the Farm to Fork Picnic

Arthur and Anya Gordon at the Farm to Fork Picnic

Anya Gordon, co-owner of Raleigh’s Irregardless Café and Catering with her husband Arthur Gordon, has been on the CEFS board since 2010. Opened in 1975, The Irregardless Café was Raleigh’s first vegetarian restaurant. The restaurant now serves vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores alike.

Anya has held nearly every position in the restaurant including hostess and cashier. In 2001, she founded the catering side of the business as a way to survive the economic recession. “It now accounts for one-quarter of our business,” she notes proudly.

While managing the catering business, Anya became introduced to CEFS after the restaurant was hired to cater several CEFS events. She was impressed with the organization’s work and quickly agreed to join the board. “CEFS is a national and international leader in sustainable agriculture and community food systems,” she says. “We are very proud to be associated with CEFS and happy to support CEFS in any way we can.”

Originally from Canada, Anya grew up in a family that valued home-cooked meals. “My parents were from Europe – they had a different culture. My mother cooked most of the day

[for the family]. I have an old-world connection to food,” she says.

When raising her own sons, who are now in their thirties, Anya gardened extensively. Now she and Arthur have founded the Well Fed Community Garden, a 1 ½ acre garden just a few miles from the restaurant. The produce feeds the restaurant and catering business, and is also donated back to the community. The garden was inspired in part by Arthur’s volunteer farm work at CEFS’ Small Farm Unit. “We’re thrilled to be involved in the mystery and challenges of growing food,” she says.

The restaurant has won many awards over the years including the Green Award from Triangle Business Journal (2009), the Environmental Award from the City of Raleigh (2010), the Pinnacle Award in Sustainability from the Chamber of Commerce (2011), and the National Green Plus Small Business of the Year Award from the Institute of Sustainable Development (2012).

Anya also serves on the Wake Food Policy Council Task Force and the City of Raleigh’s Environmental Advisory Board. She is the membership chair of North Carolina Community Garden Partners and is on the local food committee of Advocates for Health in Action.

For more information about the Irregardless Café and Catering, please visit their website.

From the September 2014 E-Newsletter