March 25, 2011

Spring news

Over the super moon equinox weekend we teamed up with Drawing Club – run by Sebastian Lowsley Williams – to host a day of drawing the trailer and its contents for the making of the Energy Cafe user manual.

Regents Studios runs parallel to Broadway Market – one of the busiest saturday markets in the east end. Situated slightly off the main drag we were able to unfold all the cafe resources and naturally occupy the car park for the afternoon.

The sun beat down into the early eve.

as Dandelion posed with swirl stove and solar cooker…

Meanwhile on the menu; spring soup for all the crew, potato cake…

and a special egguinox honey and banana cake. it was the first cake to be baked in the windy smithy oven. Baked for half an hour at 250degrees.

Rachael Matthews made a beautiful drawing of the solar powered unit on wheels (prototype 1) , designed by Lucy Sheldon. Read more on the Prick Your Finger blog.

It was a great day! Thanks for all who participated and made lovely drawings of the situation and to Dandelion the drawing club model. Energy cafe user Manual will be online soon!


March 15, 2011

Check the calendar for regular updates on Energy Cafe’s whereabouts!

February 28, 2011

Winter Launch!!! at Prick Your Finger

9th December 2010

At last! The moment we’ve all been waiting for! The newly customized Energy Cafe trailer is towed to its first ‘gig’ in public space!

Unveiling its shiny self on Globe Road, Bethnal Green, East London, to coincide with an opening at the world’s greatest haberdashery shop: Prick Your Finger

Wood smoke mingled with the lights and electrical atmosphere of this busy corner in London, bringing a touch of candle-light ‘countryside’ to the city.

Inside Prick Your Finger, Gina Birch from the Raincoats, rocked out to her exhibition of slogans, bags and banners called ’57 Ways’…

…while Energy Cafe was clearly an intriguing and charming street side attraction for visitors and locals, who’d like to see it return to their neighborhood! Over the last six months, we’ve been inviting people to share their thoughts on what locations, activities and events Energy Cafe could be involved with in the future. We’ve found that there is no shortage of ideas and interest for Energy Cafe as a community resource. All this talk has helped us in putting together a user-friendly manual: Coming Soon!!

A seasonal menu of mince pies and chocolate clementines was served up with piping hot, locally brewed spiced cider and wine mulled on the ranger…

…fired up with roadside-chopped waste wood.

How many people can you fit into a converted horse box? There must have been at least 25 squeezed in at one point…

Many thanks to Rachael and Louise from Prick Your Finger, to Vince for towing, Amanda and Ross for helping out on the night, James and others for supplying extra wood for the burner and to everyone who came to toast Energy Cafe’s new chapter and future nomadic adventures.

Not forgetting the police officer who directed us out of the one way street in the morning! As Energy Cafe was towed by Simon all the way to deepest Dorset.

We spent three days serving lunch on Powerstock Common, doing a ‘recce’ with locals for a future springtime event as part of artist, Anna Best‘s project: A Road For the Future.

We’ll keep you posted!

June 23, 2010

Hawkwood Nursery Open Day this Sunday 27th June 11 – 4

Hawkwood Crescent
Chingford E4 7UH

Energy Cafe will be serving Elderflower cordial, made with flowers harvested from a Hawkwood tree. If you are curious to see the beautiful site where we are based, please join us for a glass, take a walk through the meadow grass, see what’s growing and have a peek in the garage to see the trailer interior undergoing a transformation: from humble horse box to hand crafted kitchen.

Wellies were thrown, salads tossed, barns danced, and our home-brewed elderflower champagne flowed last Saturday, in celebration of the Summer Solstice with Organic Lea. Check out more photos of their mid-summer party, on their website in the next few days:
elderflower recipes can be dowloaded here!

June 3, 2010

Energy Cafe is ready for Interns and Volunteers, Thanks to Organiclea!

In sympathy with the slow food movement the trailer is edging its way south. With a wink of its new indicator lights (thanks Andy!), last week Gino towed it just half a mile down the road to Organiclea’s Hawkwood Nursery on the woodland edge of Epping Forest. This inspirational worker’s cooperative aims to help people get their hands into the soil, encouraging community food growing in the city. A beautiful, productive, tranquil oasis, Hawkwood is home to their latest resource: glasshouses, growing beds, fields, a classroom and future plans for orchards and vineyards. With our shared philosophies, its a perfect partnership for Energy Cafe. Responding to the spring call-out for an undercover base, they’ve very generously offered us space in their Hawkwood garage until the end of August in exchange for rent-in-kind.

A roof! Organic Lea’s Huf nudging the trailer into its new home.

Throughout the summer months we’re planning to install as many of the ideas for the off-grid kitchen as we can, getting it ready for the road. We’ve enlisted Vince, a local member of the Energy Cafe team and skilled joiner to focus on the interior fit-out and we’re now ready for energetic interns.

If you’d be interested in joining the team during this young and exciting construction phase, we’d love to hear from you. We are seeking one or two people who can spend a few days a week, preferably over the duration of the next three months. Tasks can be wide-ranging and may include: helping out with the trailer customization inside and out; investigating off-grid technologies (solar panels, water harvesting, bicycle power); supporting publicity, planning events and workshops; hunting for materials and scrounging things for free; searching for local / wild food; making off-grid cups of tea… and more! Its a wonderful learning opportunity and although we are currently working to plan, Energy Cafe welcomes fresh input and ideas. We’ll cover travel and lunch expenses too.

Please email us: or phone: 07791246022 / 07947367463, and tell us about your experience, your passions and what you hope to get out of volunteering with Energy Cafe. We look forward to hearing from you!

Open Day
During our time at Gunpowder Park, Energy Cafe sparked and grew the possibility of a common land. Being open and attracting community was at its core. For this next phase, retreating from the public feels important, to focus and prepare the trailer for community once again. Energy Cafe is sensitive to wherever it finds itself. Hawkwood Nursery has its own network of workers and volunteers, all of whom are coming into contact with the project in their own unique way. But Energy Cafe will be holding some public events during work-in-progress and we hope to see you there! The first will be on Sunday 27th June when the Nursery holds is next open day. Watch this space for a more detailed posting nearer the time…

Once again, a massive cheers to the brilliant people at Hawkwood Nursery, Organiclea! Thanks for your support guys…

March 21, 2010

Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring!

Being the first day of Spring and exactly a year since the Energy Café 24 Hour Spring Banquet at Gunpowder Park, we felt it timely to share the exciting news that Energy Café has recently received a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

This means, after months of figuring through plans and restoring energy we can now move into the new phase: Energy Café goes mobile. We will use this funding to complete the construction work inside the trailer, to continue what we started, to make a fully functional off grid community kitchen, based on all the ideas and designs generated during the pilot phase in Gunpowder Park. We will also be launching a new website in the coming months, planning some Energy College Workshops and host a launch celebratory cook–up (locations to be announced later!).

All this time – since May last year, the trailer has been quietly lodged at Gino’s place that he calls ‘the land where time forgot’ – a scrap yard local to Gunpowder Park. Now we are searching for a new temporary home for the trailer, ideally in East  London – but we’re open to other possibilities – we are looking for a  practical workshop space or any secure disused undercover plot to work on the trailer ready for the summer. If you know of such a place that we could use for a couple of months please contact us!

A big thank you to everyone who has been so supportive and enthusiastic about the potential for Energy Café during this fallow time, those whom have shared ideas and given advice… behind the scenes the momentum is gathering…. We’ll keep you posted!

The Big Lottery Fund distributes half of the National Lottery good cause funding across the UK. The fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need.

Read more about the post Gunpowder Park phase here: about

May 16, 2009

Energy Cafe Spring Banquet
Filmed and edited by Francisca Bancalari

click the link below to read all about it! a great ‘Spring Banquet’ Review by Kate Towerzey

A big thanks to everyone who brought food to share and set the field alive with community spirit!

Rubber Tyre Stage (and sprung dance floor!)
designed and constructed by Dave Richter.

bike power

Bike Power sound system with  ‘Magnificient Revolution’
Check their inspiring blog for news and updates this summer! Thanks guys!

solar band

Dr Realgood – local rhythm and blues band
Great set! first live ( solar powered) band to play at Energy Cafe !

Solar Panels loaned by Ken Boak
Worked perfectly – only a couple of blips when a cloud passed over the sun!

Cooking areas and other off grid demos


Burger Bar hosted by Florian -a  specialist in outdoor kitchen and cooking choreography!  who made a special trip from Berlin to construct the bar and cook! Top! The Oil drum Barbeques were made and welded beautifully by Chen.


Energy Cafe sprouts – amanda’s speciality added an extra nutritious crunch!
making braii

Fire circle  – South African Braai
Anna and Alan demonstrated how to make one  in just over an hour!- sourcing bricks, earth and pebbles on site

roasting veg

Fuel: Locally felled birch and ash – thanks for chopping Ray! – then a communal feast of roasted pumpkins, squash, corn and sweet potatoes .
copper fire pit
Copper fire pit – loaned by Kerrie
intimate set up for food sharing,  frying, grilling, roasting.


Wild food area /around the millstones – Nettle and mint tea was the most popular!

swirl stove

Swirl Stove made by Andrew Heggie

Brilliant fuel-efficient invention (runs off wood chips, sawdust pellets) that kept the water boiling into the night


Bio Diverse power station – designed and constrcuted by Shaun, Termite low impact construction. Fitted with water harvester ‘pitted olive’….

washing up close

provided 24 hours of washing up water!

strawberry tower

Vertical Strawberry Tower – designed and constructed by Tak Hoshino
With bike wheel wind turbine and umbrella water harvester

Energy Cafe Shelters


Love Shack Tipi area

Lynn Saunders from the Magic Music Box and team  – check out : funky puppets

funky puppets

organised loads of arts and crafts activities – in true spring festival style…


Giant bubble making, face painting to a sunset dragon procession .

Marquee loaned by Sherilee- A tranquil space for watching the sun set.
spring sunset

Willow bender – made by Shaun, Sherilee, Amanda and Polly
Great for the night time crashers! Six fit comfortably.

Landrover Tent – Ideal for two


birch boards

birch bread boards made by Peter !

fried eggs

Sun stove –loaned by Ken Boak

Runs off waste wood –  ideal for heating up homemade dishes. and making fried eggs breakfasts

solar air ballon

Solar air balloon demo with Eileen at 12 noon

morning view

To be continued!!