Independent Food and Drink Academy

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Independent Food and Drink Academy

As part of the Leeds International Festival, which began this week, the IFDA launched the first of four Forums designed to help and support small businesses in the Food and Drink Industry.

I was invited to attend the first of these Forums on Tuesday 25th April at The Tetley, ( the original home of Tetley Brewery) titled Leeds: Past, Present and Progress.

The Speakers were

  • Jamie Campbell CGA Peach. Jamie went through a series of stats and data in the food and drink industry as a whole.
  • Lucy Noone, formerly of Allied London, talked, among many other things, about finding a concept, often from around the world, and bringing it back to Leeds. Supporting and helping local producers build and create that concept.
  • Martin Wolstencroft. Arc Inpsirations Martin gave a short history of his Leeds roots and how he founded Arc Inspirations which now has a multi million pound turnover.
  • Mark Morris – Angelica’s and Crafthouse. Mark gave an interesting talk about how many businesses, such as D&D London are looking to invest in the North.
Image: I Like Press


I was hoping to learn more about Leeds and its history of the Independent Food and Drink producers, as the title of the Forum suggested. I’m of an age where, as a tiny tot, I remember traveling to Leeds on a tram alighting on Briggate, which is now a precinct. However, I came away with a positive outlook for Leeds. I’m a glass half full kinda person and always look to the positive. I’m not a food producer, nor the owner of one of the wonderful artisan Coffee shops that Leeds has in abundance. Places such as Laynes,Est: 2011  La Bottega Milanese Est: 2009, North Star Coffee Roasters Est: 2013, to name just a few.

I found it encouraging to learn that larger developments and companies, such as D&D who already have Angelica’s and Crafthouse in Leeds, are hitting the high road from London to invest in the North of England.

As one speaker said. Leeds is a vibrant Independent Artisan City, where the people know what they like and don’t mind speaking their mind as to what they don’t like.  Many a company have lost their way, not just in Leeds, trying to bring London ideas to the North. It often doesn’t work, especially when the city and its people have their own likes and dislikes.

I came away with ideas and thoughts about how to run the Clandestine Cake Club. It was good to catch up with a few familiar faces and discovering new Artisan producers. I wish them all well.

By becoming a member of the IFDA community you will not only be helping others in the Food and Drink sector, but you will receive guidance and support from other professionals. One new business owner I met, explained how she received lots of help and support as she ventured into her new Coffee Shop business.

IFDA Forum Dates

IFDA FORUM 2 – Not the Menu and the Wine list, but the Licence and the Lease. Tuesday 27th June


IFDA FORUM 3 – Tech Distribution, from Data to Delivery Tuesday 5th September


IFDA FORUM 4  – Lifestyle, Longterm or Flip Tuesday 17th October


Note: Members of the IFDA can attend these Forums for free. As a none member I was invited to attend as a guest, for the purpose of writing a review. This is not a sponsored post and all words are my own.


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