Oriental breakfast


Offering breakfast in the garden opens the garden for all the community and creates linkages between migrant gardeners and other people. At the same time it has become a professional and economically viable activity.

Description of the activity

The oriental breakfast is a regular event where the gardeners invite locals and friends for a delicious oriental brunch in the garden. It takes place every Saturday with more gaps in the cold season in a befriended café in Vienna. The breakfast is available on a donation basis and is operated by migrants who get compensation for their work. Implementing this activity was a big step for the project in building a bridge to locals through food and boosting the self-empowerment of the migrants through work in a team with different areas of responsibility. Because the breakfast is on a donation basis migrants can easily participate. The activity started very small and after a good advertising campaign they soon reached 50-80 guests every Saturday. In addition to having your breakfast with your friends and family or celebrating your birthday in the garden you could also buy fresh vegetables from the booth, after having your breakfast.

Competences and training needed

As the overall attitude in the project Garden of Encounter is more ‘learning from doing’ the general advice here is to first study what other projects do and then just start. Bottom-up projects cannot be planned in detail according to their view. It is seen more like organising a birthday party for a friend where you simply ask people what they can bring in. Flexibility and following the pulse is seen as very important factors. Small successes like many visitors are important to keep up the motivation.

On the other side it was mentioned that having migrants on board who are used to running a business and organising activities were a big advantage to ensure the oriental breakfast in the Garden of Encounter.

Steps for the implementation of the activity

Understand people’s skills. Who do we have in the team? Who has specific skills and wants to use them?
E.g. They had a baker, a person who likes to serve tea, people who like customer contact, etc.

Set up a meeting using the known skills and plan the first event Advertise (for example on Facebook and via the municipality).

If possible, use vegetables from the garden.

Learn from each event.

Materials and methods

- Space for the breakfast (a garden, an indoor room)
- A small kitchen
- Dishes
- Cutlery
- Electricity
- Water
- Tables/chairs (in the beginning they started with one table. From each event they built one more)

Materials and human resources:
- Food (depending on your dishes)
- Tea/coffee
- Coordinator
- Worker for specific tasks (cooking, serving, etc.)

Time/Workload: 2 days per event
- One day preparation of food - One day carrying it out and clean up - Some hours for developing advertising

Mainly for food and the implementation costs for the infrastructure (buying dishes, kitchen equipment in the beginning and organising tables & chairs). The expenditure should come back through the donations received.

Learning outcomes for the participants

Offering food opened the garden for different groups of people. It enabled a deep connection to the neighbourhood and enhanced real chances to connect. Through food, questions about the culture and the migrant’s home countries arise and people tend to linger in the garden then just come and go.

The oriental breakfast became an economically important factor for the whole project. This success strengthened the motivation to carry on with this and other projects.

Starting a food service is rather difficult with all the bureaucratic constraints. Organising breakfast as an event on a donation basis can bypass this problem and still setup realistic training for future jobs. The gardeners had to work together in a team with specific roles like cooks, servers etc. Through this process they had to redefine their roles and the way they worked together as a team.

Difficulties were seen in continuing the activity in the cold season because of a lack of visitors and in the different needs of professionalising the team. Some have seen the oriental breakfast as more relaxed and did not show a deep commitment regarding the work that had to be done, while others wanted to run the breakfast as a business and wanted to improve it from event to event.