Moose's Kitchen is new vegan cafe based in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex, which is due to open in March 2013. As well as running the cafe we will be providing cookery courses (including free classes for community groups and those on low incomes); providing training placements for catering students; and organising events to promote and raise awareness of local and sustainable food. We aim to source as much produce as possible from local farms such as Hankham Organics and Pannel Organic.
There are actually very few vegan cafes in this country, whereas in other countries like the US they are far more common place. There are even fewer cafes that focus on sustainable food and that only use local, organic and ethical ingredients. In fact, just getting a healthy, tasty, affordable, home-cooked meal is sometimes quite hard. We want to change this and show that it is possible to serve delicious, organic, vegan food without having to pay huge prices.
We hope that Moose's Kitchen will be the start of many more similar projects in the UK. Once the cafe is established we want to help others across the country to set up similar ventures based on our principles of Local, Organic, Vegan and Ethical food, and to use some of the profits we make to do this.
What We Need & What You Get
We are very fortunate to have received some funding to set up the cafe and support our educational and awareness-raising activities, such as cookery courses and local food events. This grant is from Local Food, a £57.5 millon funding programme supported by the Big Lottery Fund that supports food-related community projects across the UK.
However, we are now looking to raise extra funding for the business part of the cafe to use in addition to personal savings. We still need another £5000 because we are now fitting the kitchen from scratch rather than taking over an existing set up as originally anticipated. Your contributions will go towards the cost of the capital expenditure, such as cooking equipment and the cafe's fixtures and fittings. Most commercial appliances e.g. cooker, fridge, freezer and dishwasher cost £1000 - £1500.
If you contribute to our campaign then whatever you invest you'll get back as free food in our cafe, or discounted meals and cookery courses. For example if you contribute £5 you'll get a free cup of tea and slice of cake in the cafe when it opens, or if you provide £25 you'll get special rates on our cookery courses and special offers on meals for whole year. So crowd funding is more like giving us a small upfront loan rather than a donation.
Whatever contribution you make will be useful, even if we don't reach our overall goal, as the more equipment we can buy the better. Also, we have set our target at an amount we hope we can reach, but we'd really like to raise more than this, if we can, to ensure we have everything we need from day one.
Through our cafe, cookery courses and other activities Moose's Kitchen aims to educate people about healthy, sustainable, vegan food, and show how tasty it is and easy to prepare. We don't just want to cater to vegans and vegetarians, as the main aim is to get more people to eat food which is good for them, animals and the planet. In the long term, as mentioned above, we also want to help other people set up cafes and other projects supplying Local, Organic, Vegan and Ethical food.
I have worked in vegetarian restaurants since I was sixteen, run a vegan organic cake business supplying cafes in Brighton, and been doing pop up meals in Hastings over the last two years. I have also worked in the sustainable and local food sector for the last ten years. This has included setting up Hastings Farmers' Market and The Community Fruit and Veg Project box scheme, running cookery sessions, and supporting growing projects as Five a Day co-ordinator at Hastings Primary Care Trust; co-ordinating the Food Co-ops project and working on the Good Food on the Public Plate project at Sustain; and volunteering on organic farms in the UK and overseas.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you can't contribute money, you may be able to help by donating items that could be useful in the cafe, e.g. old tables and chairs.
You can also help us by spreading the word about the campaign on Facebook and Twitter using the Indiegogo share tools.