February 28, 2011

Make Your Mark

The state, color, function and future of the trailer’s exterior has been hotly debated over the last year. We’ve been asking people to come up with their ideas for how it could be customized and here we’ve visualized some of the results.

Beach Cafe

Meadow Cafe

Forest Cafe

Moonlighting Cafe

Desert Cafe

Paris Cafe

Rainbow Cafe

Garden Cafe

A big thanks to everyone who contributed, including, Dominique, Kim, Emily, Theo, Elsa and Emily!

Can you imagine the trailer transformed? The possibilities are endless! We’ve uploaded the trailer template, if you’d like to make your own visualization, download, draw, email it and we’ll publish it on the blog.

click to download

trailer template


January 6, 2011


Energy Cafe has been off the virtual radar since June 2010. Find out what’s been going on in the following news updates and stories: Testing Testing – the Hawkwood cookups

The story of The making of Energy Cafe Kitchen

More Solar cooking and the arrival of the sister swirl stove.

Coming soon: Energy Cafe on the move.

The next Open day at Hawkwood Plant Nursery is Sunday 30th January at 12 noon. Check the Organiclea website for further details.

January 6, 2011

The story of…

The making of Energy Cafe Kitchen.

BEFORE (pictured above May 2010)

AFTER ‘As if it grew there’ (pictured above – with Vince –  September 2010)

Handcrafted out of recycled materials by local carpenter Vince, Hawkwood Nursery, Chingford, summer 2010.

with creative tips, advice, inspiration and practical help  from the Hawkwood Crew, volunteers; Amanda and Polly and kim

materials donated by FRP (Forest recycling Project )

Energy Cafe kitchen has been collectively designed. The final layout based on designs and ideas gathered from many people during the pilot phase, Gunpowder Park, Waltham Abbey, 2008 – 09.

A gradual transformation

took place over the summer and into the autumn of 2010.  Undercover in the Hawkwood Nursery garage, we sketched the design layout and

gathered scrap wood from the street and from skips and anywhere we spied a piece that would fit the job. We stripped the trailer bare, first removing the black rubber side panels and flooring – to let it breathe.

Meanwhile Vince (and his tools) got to work.

First step to remake the the original self supporting ceiling storage unit (designed by Barry at Gunpowder Park).

Then he added storage units for the cups and glasses.

‘as if it grew there’ was his motto. meaning that whatever he made and fitted into the trailer would have to feel naturally part of the kitchen, yes, ‘as if it grew there‘ became our mantra too.

Underneath the rubber flooring we discovered  a mature mahogany (we think) hardwood floor  – this we sanded and oiled to bring out the natural sheen.

Henry Ranger

This beautiful and extremely efficient ranger is made by Windy Smithy – the workshop of Jon Snow and Amalia Pes in Devon.

Vince installed the ranger and flue plus designed the quirky flame fire board backing.

Under the paving slab he constructed a very useful bottom drawer  for baking tins, tongs and skewers made out of  bits of 2 by 2 and oak floorboard. The handle is made out of a part from a fire extinguisher.

plate rack

Perfectly designed and crafted by Vince.

Made of dowel

and two types of plywood found dumped near Waltham Abbey.

double sink unit –  for washing hands and dishes

Handbasin unit (left) orginally made at Gunpowder park by Dave. Sink found in Hackney. Right sink found on a street in Whitechapel, customised and fitted by Vince. Top Unit made of Plywood, Cupboard doors made of scrap palette wood.

Highly polished flexi copper tap

made by Vince out of scrap copper piping  that was donated during the pilot phase at Gunpowder park.

foot pumping system

The water system comprises of a foot pump

that draws cold water

from the water hog and pumps it up to the tap.  The waste water drains out of the sink through external pipe into bucket.

Storage unit

with wine box drawers and secret compartment by maki. The main unit was made by Man Somerlink during the Pilot phase.

Folding table top addition

made out of oak floorboards found on the streets Hackney

cut to size

and fitted by Vince.

rotating global herb and spice rack

jar storage originally installed by kajsa and Maki, Abake,  Thanks to Polly for adding the spinning idea.

This special rotating global herb and spice rack will contain samples of herbs, spices and other delicacies from all around the world  – delicacies that have been sourced and carried personally, in hand luggage.

To date Energy cafe stocks nutmeg from Kim, Crayfish Bay, The Carribean and Bay leaves from the tree in Anya’s Garden, Bath.

Made out of scrap plywood from Waltham Abbey Marina. The centre nut and bolt  – perfect for hanging a lamp was salvaged from Hawkwood. The Jam Jars were donated.

mobile stationary unit

Prototype designed by Vince.

Made out scrap plywood and lengths of 4 by 4 found in a nearby skip. This unique Mobile Stationary Unit contains Energy Cafe reference books and other material . Can also be used as a seat.

Autumn  – the time of year when the rosehips are budding…

The trailer is relocated outside, as a mobile kitchen ready for use.

now at last we can make an Energy Cafe ‘Thank-you’ cuppa

for Vince! whom we discovered also carves the finest spoons.

This one he made for Energy Cafe. It’s made from willow.

Do you need a carpenter? ‘no job is too small’ contact Vince : 07786342783

June 23, 2010

Thanks to Windy Smithy, Henry has arrived!

We are looking forward to holding the first Energy Cafe soup kitchen with the help of this beautiful hand-made wood-burning stove. More than just a small-scale oven and hob, it will keep the mobile kitchen cosy in winter and potentially heat up water too.

We’d like to shout “thanks!” to Jon Snow of Windy Smithy, down in Devon for giving Energy Cafe a generous discount on the Henry Ranger model.

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: pilotpublishing@googlemail.com 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. www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

Read more about the post Gunpowder Park phase here: about

March 16, 2009

Tuesday 3rd March



Clever mobile kitchen ideas come to life thanks to Maki and Kajsa … full update coming soon!