The Pavilion Cafe in Meadows park, Edinburgh.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a
new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
R. Buckminster Fuller
The building was build in 19 century and used as cloak rooms for cricket players. Business was opened here in 2007, after a couple of years of persuading the council not to demolish the building and that a cafe in the underused, vandalised pavilion was a good idea and that it would add to the attraction of The Meadows.
“We really wanted to have a laid back, unassuming place that blended in with The Meadows and nature and that created a natural community space for all the many different people that use and enjoy The Meadows.”
For the last year the cafe is under new management of Amanda Scott: “If people shop more locally, leave less of a carbon print for the whole world, then it helps a sustainability and a whole community, which is very important. I contribute to local economy as I use only our local suppliers, to put money back in our area”
The Pavilion Cafe serves up an array of vegetarian food, selection of cakes, herbal teas, fresh smoothies and coffee, all either sourced by local suppliers or prepared on premises.
People around The Cafe build up a community that seems to have all it needs to sustain itself, a market that presents itself as an ‘alternative economy’ example.
Apart from main area (the cafe itself), building has 9 little sheds around it, which are used by other businesses. For example, “snip and sip” hairdressing studio, which specializes on “organic and very personalized cuts” is moved here after closure of Forest cafe, or ”Art Wear Edinburgh. Creative and affordable.” shop. Els, the owner, is selling here her vintage, sometimes altered clothes. From November, 14 to December, 2, small scale retailers from all parts of Europe met here for Crimbo Market to sell their products and make a living.
Most of people gathered here are against the capitalistically organized society and try (sometimes unconsciously) to build an alternative, “anti-consumerist”, anti-corporate community. For example, Kaya is selling her hand-made jewelry, Rocio and Dafne are two retailers from Spain, selling hand-made hats, t-shirts, bags and brooches.
Rory, self-employed gardener and massage therapist, says: “There is a real community feeling, children running around, people playing music. I prefer this environment to Starbuck or Primark. More relaxed, more human. I’m not very interested in politics or economy.”
The Pavilion Cafe will be closed for colder winter months, but will reopen in spring, when community garden is expected to be set up at the back of the Cafe.