The Cafe is a not-for-profit, festival catering provider, offering a varied menu of organic, vegan food, substantially run by a volunteer team. We operate as a Buddhist work-as-spiritual-practice environment at an annual programme of festivals, camping events and large retreats. We have a strong environmental ethic: we prefer to use bakers and organic veg suppliers local to the event we are attending; we use our own, custom built solar power rig and hot water heating system. The Cafe can also provide a sauna, showers, hot tubs, a cinema space, extra geodesic domes and parthenon tents.
Applications to volunteer with the Buddhafield Cafe will be open again in 2023.
Who We Are
The Cafe began in the early nineties as a fundraising venture to cover the costs of taking a meditation teaching space to Glastonbury Festival. It’s grown into one of the largest festival cafés on the circuit, feeding hundreds of people a day on delicious freshly cooked, organic, vegan food and providing a welcoming haven of warmth and friendliness.
Although a core team works for Buddhafield and the Cafe all year round, some people join us just for a season, but many dip in and out. Not everyone is a Buddhist or even aspires to be, but everyone contributes to the ethos of the Cafe.
Work As Practice
Buddhism is not just something practiced at shrines or temples, it’s principles are routinely applicable to daily life. In the Cafe we encourage the development of awareness at work; mindful in actions, speech and thoughts, cultivating kindly and generous impulses. We encourage our team to meditate, reflect and discuss the Buddha’s teaching and examine how it applies to tasks at hand.
Our ethical and environmental policies are a core part of our beliefs: to look after ourselves, those around us and our environment; to treat ourselves, each other and our world with the respect that they deserve, in the understanding that they are not separate.
We keep waste to a minimum by recycling and composting whatever we can. All the food we prepare is fresh, organic and / or fairly traded, bought from local growers and suppliers wherever possible. We wish to support local economies and small businesses, promoting sustainable methods of food production. We usually use ceramic plates, bowls and mugs, metal cutlery or compostable alternatives where necessary. Power for the music and lights in the Café comes from solar panels.
What We Cook
We are well-known for our full, cooked vegan breakfast, soups and the Buddhafield Coconut Curry — a lightly spiced vegetable curry served with brown rice. There is often a roast dinner available on Sundays. Check out a sample daily menu.
Thanks to the brilliantly creative cooks who join us, the menu changes daily: it depends on what we have and what we feel like cooking! So our Daily Special might be Baked Marinated Tofu with a Bulgar Wheat Pilaf, or Indonesian Stew with Satay Sauce. We always have a variety of salads, generous with toasted seeds, olives and tasty dressings. Our soups are also interestingly different each day and there is usually fresh, homemade soya yoghurt to go with fruit salad and organic muesli as an alternative to our full, cooked breakfast.
We ensure there are always wheat-free options available and can give assurances on other ingredients such as yeast or nuts where relevant. We order a wide range of organic vegetables, salads, herbs and fruit, as much as possible from local organic growers, to make sure there is an exciting selection for the cooks to choose from. Wholefoods, other cooking ingredients and our wholly biodegradeable cleaning products come from the Essential Trading Co-operative, based in Bristol, are GMO free, organic and fair-trade whenever possible.
Our food and drink is usually served on ceramic plates, bowls and mugs with metal cutlery, all of it bought from public recycling centres in Devon. This eclectic design standard may result in a your mug, bowl or plate proving itself a novel talking point!
Our Tents and Structures
Our tents are custom made by Buddhafield. Canvas covered, they are based around an extendable parthenon shaped aluminium frame. The standard sized version is 25m x 8.5m, with the busy open plan kitchen completely on view behind a colourful and inviting counter. The seating area is light and airy with low level seating at beautifully painted tables. Colourful rugs cover the floor. A canopy of billowing, sail-like fabric, in blues, oranges, golds and pinks, creates a warm and cosy, yet spacious feeling. The outside is decorated with prayer flags, painted banners, bunting and large colourful flags.
We have a smaller tent which we run as a take-away café for use at smaller or one-day events. This is more versatile, quick and easy to erect and does not require the large teams we need to run the full shebang (as few as seven people per shift). The menu is simpler, with crêpes, veggie burgers and baked potatoes served all day.
We can also adapt our set-up to offer a spa garden — complete with sauna, hot tubs, showers and chill-out space — and a cinema.
Insurance, Health & Safety
We are registered with our local authority, Mid Devon District Council, and have full public and employment liability insurance. Principle Café management documentation is available in another section of this website.