Madeleine Ellis-Peterson

The Hog Roast Cafe

Madeleine is a 20-year-old undergraduate student in her 2nd year of a BA (Hons) in History and Politics at the University of Oxford. Madeleine has always had an interest in gardening, and believes in the power of community to instigate change. She also feels that gardening is a great way to meet people, and gives students and people from the local community a chance to mix.

She has extensive experience of volunteering and is particularly interested in food sustainability issues. She spotted an opportunity to support a local community by opening a viable eco cafe in a disused pavilion on Hogacre Common Community allotment www.hogacrecommon.org.uk. She is also involved with Oxford Food bank www.oxfordfoodbank.co.uk.

With the help of funding from the UnLtd HE Support programme at Oxford, Madeline has been able to open her eco cafe, which she has named The Hog Roast: www.thehogroast.org. 'Roast' here refers to the coffee they serve, as the cafe is vegetarian.

The cafe officially opened on Sunday 9th June 2013 with about 500 people in attendance. When asked about the day, Madeleine commented: "It was the most wonderful day, seeing my dream becoming reality, but it was also stressful. It's made me realise how much it takes to set up a sustainable business - there is always more to think about. A couple of weeks before the opening, there seemed too much to do, but we got everything done. I have managed to achieve more than I ever thought I could."

Currently the cafe opens every Sunday from 11am - 4pm and has so far welcomed around 100 customers each day.

Madeleine commented "The £5,000 UnLtd grant has been invaluable in getting my project off the ground. Not only has it given me the financial resources with which to start my project, but it has been great to feel that other people are as excited about the cafe as I am! It has also been really inspiring meeting other Award Winners, and hearing about their great projects has given me lots more ideas for my own. Without the UnLtd grant, The Hog Roast would not even be nearly ready for opening!"

In addition to the financial support from UnLtd, Madeleine has praised the university for the advice and contacts the organisation have provided her with, such as local restaurant owners, builders, and access to legal advice. She has also been able to collaborate with other Award Winners.

Looking to the future, Madeleine would like to see the cafe act as a social hub for the OxGrow Community Garden, and as a space for people to exchange ideas. Some of these ideas include setting up a community kitchen for people to prepare meals from locally grown food, as well as a parent and child gardening group. Madeleine would like The Hog Roast to become a really strong community hub, and be a place where people can exchange skills.