I took this picture through the stained-glass window of St Werburgh’s City Farm Cafe at the weekend.
Bristol is a mega-city but blessed by pockets of seclusion – enchanted sanctuaries such as St Werburgh’s.
This little corner of green near the M32 shields the eco-self-build houses, the Wild Goose space, the Climbing Wall, the Better Food Company, St Werbugh’s City Farm and Cafe and more, and, as my luck would have it, is a ten-minute walk through the allotments from home.
The icy-cold weather of late has been leavened by such pockets of warmth.
Last night, for instance, we went through powdery snow in the empty allotments to the wildness of a contact dance improvisation jam at the eco-built Wild Goose Space where I lay on the floor watching this compelling film, Baraka, then dropped by afterwards to St Werburgh’s City Farm Cafe for the drinks bit of the staff meal.
St Werburgh’s City Farm Cafe has Wifi and real coffee, and a splendid selection of heart-warming home-made dishes many made with produce from the adjoining City Farm.
It’s run by Leona Williamson – unassuming, hard-working and friendly. She and her team won the 2008 Observer Food Monthly award for outstanding ethical achievement, calling it the “ultimate green eatery…(using) not food miles but food yards”.
I wrote about the Cafe in 2008, and – see comments – received fierce rebuke for praising the Cafe’s use of animals from the Farm. I am with Simon Fairlie and the Soil Association on the meat issue. Although I passionately believe factory-farmed meat is wrong – over-produced, cruel, unhealthy, unsustainable and unnecessary – a few creatures on a family farm is another matter entirely.
Back to last night: I met Jack, and discovered he is the Ethicurean now running the Walled Garden Cafe at Wrington, Somerset. I remet (I know this sounds like a poncy eco-roll-call but it wasn’t really like that) Andy Hamilton, of the Self-Sufficientish Bible, who is finishing a book (a brilliant idea and once O.K-ayed it, I will mention here…) (and it is Booze for Free – good innit?), and Jamie Pike from Co-Exist at Hamilton House, currently congregating food people to make creative use of a communal kitchen at Hamilton House in Stokes Croft.
We talked about the recent Tesco planning fiasco and the importance of creating alternatives (as Jamie and co has done at Hamilton House).
As we left, Leona gave us a bottle of refreshing homemade rosemary and apple cordial from (very) local produce.
St Werburgh’s City Farm Cafe is now closed for Christmas until 15 January.
Apparently Baraka (the movie) means: blessings in a multitude of languages, and this is appropriate, as I felt blessed indeed as we walked home through the moonlit snow.