A LOVE LETTER TO NOORISH
Written by Sheniz Wilkie, founder and owner
Photography by Semi Vujcic
How do I tell the people that you’re closing in a few days? What will they say? What will they feel? How can so many emotions be felt at once?
You were my home for the last seven years. It’s been the hardest and the most rewarding years of my life. You’ve been the centre of transformation for countless people. You fed the hungry. You sheltered the weary. You inspired the hopeless. You warmed hearts daily. You made people’s eyes light up in the most beautiful way. You let people find a new home in their bodies through yoga and meditation. You held space for so many, not just for me. You remained a constant beacon of light in this cacophonic town of ever-changing food fanaticism and trendy yoga typhoons.
We all had a reason to show up everyday and serve from our hearts. Live music. Supper clubs. Food workshops. Late night impromptu staff parties because none of us wanted to leave. You held us in your comfort and kindness all night long.
The Noorish Farm plot was our connection to what was greater than us. The sunflowers grew tall and robust there. We partook in the joy of sharing the harvest together. Abundance resided in our back pockets in the shape of pea pods. Smiles were real and deep. Connections were meaningful.
Back at home, people were going on their first dates and eating edible flowers from that garden, while staff were learning the art of cleaning dirt off vegetables. People were getting engaged in the restaurant, while servers were learning how to make a superfood elixir. People were getting married at the restaurant, while staff were learning how to ferment cashew cheese for the first time. People came after their loved ones passed away at the University Hospital to have a healing meal, and that’s what they received. People came after work to feed their families. People came to get that elixir that would help them study better in the night. People came for their Nanaimo bar fix. People just came.
Dishes til 2am. Why am I still doing this? Bad reviews. Harsh critiques. Endless bills. The dishwasher is broken. The furnace gives out. The milk is spoiled. How will I make rent this month? Why is my brother making another custom elixir I can’t cost properly? How did we overspend on labour again? Is it really true that I have to haul thousands of pounds of food to Taste of Edmonton this week? Who’s going to build the patio this year? Who do I call to clean a grease trap? When will I get a salary? Are we really going to do a renovation?
Every workshop that you could ever imagine happened at Noorish. Every colour in the rainbow was served on a plate at Noorish. It was an institution that stood for goodness. It was teeming with life. All the staff lived together, ate together, grew vegetables together, played music together, watched the stars together. They were true friends living in community. And they still are to this day. This is utopia.
I am so proud of how each seed found its way through the dark soil and sprouted into these awesome plants that send out tendrils intertwined in each other until we created a strong and resilient community that is now unshakable, empowered, expressed, inspired, unbelievably creative, nurturing, healing, and growing voraciously with the power of love as strong as the sun itself.
All because the dream of Noorish got to come alive through the gift of my family’s hard work and the work of the community.
There is so much to say, but words won’t truly convey the depth of trust, realization and connection that you, Noorish, have given to us, Edmonton, to take forth with us in the world.
Gratitude flows in our veins.
Strength fills our lungs.
Beauty permeates our skin.
You're a temple, a reflection of the divine space held within us that is transforming into its best self every day. Thank you for serving us unconditionally, like a mother would a child.