Ed Van Buskirk: Owner of Berkeley's natural foods restaurant Arbor Cafe

An Interview with Ed Van Buskirk, owner of Berkeley natural foods restaurant Arbor Cafe. Originally aired in the May/June 1970 issue of Mother Earth News.

| May/June 1970

  • Arbor Cafe
    Ed Van Buskirk's restaurant Arbor Cafe serves food in its most wholesome form without any preservatives or processing.
    Photo by Fotolia/Marco Mayer

  • Arbor Cafe

This issue's Plowboy interview originally appeared in Black Bardt, an excellent alternative life publication put together by Theodore Merrill.  

What sort of organization is this?  

The Arbor?

Yes — the Arbor Cafe.  

Well — it's owned practically by two people, myself and another guy and we own it and set it up. When we first started out, we needed help but we didn't have the money to pay anybody and so people began to work here for meals and stuff — or people that just wanted to work here, wanted to get experience with natural foods, came and started working. Some people would stay only a couple of days or a week, or something like that and other people would stay nine months or a year. It's still the same kind of thing. It's like the two of us own it and, like, whatever money comes out of it is, like, we pay taxes on it and it's our money. Some of the people who work here now live in the house and work, getting room and board and some money for working a certain number of hours a day. Other people live outside and work here, maybe four or five hours a day, and they get rent and some money for that. So it's a business, as I was saying, but it's also got a communal aspect to it. People are sharing the responsibilities — you know — learning how to do all the different things in the cafe and just getting experience doing it.

What got you into it?  

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