Ten years ago, Guisepi Spadafora moved into a short bus the same day he bought it. He spent the following five years converting the bus into a mobile home and tea house with salvaged wood and hardware.
Named Edna Lu, the bus now serves free tea on city streets and at events like farmers’ markets.
The bus is powered by a 30-gallon clean vegetable oil tank and a 320-watt solar panel on the roof. Built on a Ford Econoline chassis, the bus has a cozy interior with a bookshelf, wood burning stove, and a solar-powered fridge that doubles as a seat.
In an effort to keep the tea party free, Guisepi does not accept monetary tips or donations while serving tea, and does not sell tea on the bus. He did however set up a communal Gift-And-Take system with pull-out drawers in which guests can give or take items like money as they need.
Guisepi serves tea to bring people together, and remind them that money is not the key to happiness. According to their site, the Free Tea Party follows a few philosophies:
“1. The gift economy
The idea that goods and services can be given without anything required in return. We all have something in abundance to share.
2. The slow movement
The idea that everything has it’s own speed at which it is done best, and that we often focus too much on getting things done fast. We bring the slowness!
3. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) or Do-It-Together (DIT)
Becoming more directly in control of taking care of our necessities and desires.
The main tenets being: taking care of the planet, taking care of the people, and sharing the surplus.”
You can get the full tour of Guisepi’s tea house in this video documentary from Dylan Magaster:
For more information on the Tea Bus, visit their website at FreeTeaParty.org. To see more of Dylan Magaster’s documentaries, check out his Youtube channel.
This bus also runs off vegetable oil: Take A Tour Of This Vegetable Oil-Powered Converted School Bus