I spent an enjoyable day yesterday walking the length and breadth of Leeds in the sunshine - checking venues and meeting people in preparation for the annual Slow Food UK all group volunteer meeting next weekend.
First up was Vik from Left Bank Leeds - a huge church building that was bought to stop it falling into disrepair and is run by a group of volunteer trustees as an arts and events venue. It's a beautiful space, with sunlight streaming through the windows and a quirky red sofa in one corner. The acoustics are absolutely mad - and one fat furry bumblebee buzzing round sounds like there is a lawnmower in the room.
A quick lunch stop at Pickles and Potter, who are doing our catering. Owner Lorna is passionate about good food, and carefully sources her ingrediants from local producers.
And onto the Meanwood Valley Urban Farm to meet Robert. There is a class of primary school children playing with soil and worms. With a calm soft slow voice, he explans the work the farm does with disillusioned young people from Leeds. There is garden including ponds and walkways, vegetable allotment from which they cook up soup together, and even the main farm centre building was built by the young people. Getting them qualifications, raising their self-esteem and giving them new chances outside of a system that doesn't serve them for a variety of reasons.
They are also part of a breeding programme for the rare white face Yorkshire sheep - with less than 1000 animals left it's a population on the edge of extinction.
Such a great day, such lovely people doing amazing work. I recommend a visit.