Doing it yourself and getting a caterer

By Lindy Sharpe


You may start with a small event - just a morning or afternoon - in which case you will probably only have to worry about tea, coffee and soft drinks. These are fairly easy and cheap to organize.

  • Find out whether the venue has a kitchen, a kettle or urn, a fridge, washing-up facilities, crockery, tea towels
  • Plan where to have the refreshments - somewhere away from the main Seed Swap event? Will people sit / stand?
  • Decide whether to have china or paper cups and plates
  • Arrange to hire any equipment you need, such as cutlery, crockery, chairs
  • Decide in advance who will buy the necessary supplies, where they will be stored, who will serve the refreshments, who will deal with used crockery, and how much you will charge. The more you think this through in advance, the less stress there will be on the day.
For larger events, get someone who knows how

If you are organizing an all-day event, you may well want to provide a café for your visitors. In this case, find someone to run the café for you. Unless you have caterers in your organizing group, don't do it yourselves (it's complicated and time-consuming).

  • Approach likeminded whole food cafés or caterers to run the café. It is unlikely that they will make much money, but they will get some publicity and should be able to cover their costs, if you can give a good estimate of how many people you expect through the door. If you are able to get a small grant you may be able to cover some of the costs, such as plates and cutlery (if the venue doesn't have any)
  • Invite the people who will be running the café to meetings, to discuss the menu, prices, and the possibility of using organic / local produce
  • Keep the menu basic (soup and bread, salads, sandwiches, cakes, etc.)
  • Make sure the caterers know what the facilities are at the venue, and be clear about what they are supplying and what you are supplying
  • You should provide a meal and drinks for the event volunteers. Bear this in mind when calculating costs.
This page was added on 26/01/2008.