Black Culinary Scene
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Beyond the Bank: Creating Community and Culture through Food


Meet some of those who’s food projects aim to build cohesion and hope amidst isolation and desperation. The panel includes Kemi Akinola of Brixton People’s Kitchen and Be Enriched, Barny Haughton of Bristol’s Square Food Foundation, Mary Brennan of Community Unity in Leeds and Jess Thompson, founder of Migrateful. Chaired by journalist Stephen Armstrong, author of The New Poverty.

Kemi Akinola is a dedicated food justice activist. She is Managing director Brixton People’s Kitchen and CEO of Be Enriched a South London-based charity that uses food to bring joy and connection to the socially excluded, develop skills in young people, build communities and grow future generations.Over the past 9 years she has grown a small community meal in Tooting into a range of community focused food projects covering South London. Kemi has mentored and advised on food start-ups and innovation projects in London, Scotland, West Virginia, USA and is a trustee of the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN), the Food Partnerships of Lambeth and Wandsworth.

Mary Brennan set up Community Unity, a neighbourhood group that runs a lunch club in the Cross Green area of Leeds and created a garden on a disused railway bridge where the community can pick their own food.

Jess Thompson spent two and a half years working on the front line to support migrants and refugees in Ceuta, Morocco, at Dunkirk refugee camp in France, and in London, when discussions with refugee women at a Time Bank project in Tower Hamlets led her to set Migrateful. Migrateful helps refugees and asylum seekers on their journey to employment and independence and promotes integration. It runs cookery classes led by migrant chefs struggling to integrate and access employment due to legal and linguistic barriers. Migrateful currently runs 15 cookery classes per week taught by over 25 refugee chefs in London, Kent and Bristol.

Barny Haughton is the Founder, Director and Head Teacher at Bristol’s Square Food Foundation, the not-for-profit food education school he started in 1998. Square Food is committed to teaching people from all walks of life to cook good food from scratch. Barny regularly gives talks and demonstrations at food conferences, festivals and schools and is a judge for the Soil Association’s Organic Food Awards.

Food Season supported by KitchenAid

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