Elemental is a creative network of artists, forward thinkers and change makers. It hosts events such as exhibitions, club nights and 3 course dinners to inspire, engage and connect people to environmental issues in Leeds.
Started by Tami Pein after noticing a gap in the type of social activism available in Leeds from an environmental perspective, its goal is to ‘make sustainability sexy’. She says: “There are plenty of talks and film screenings about climate change, but in Leeds there aren’t enough initiatives that really arm and engage people with the tools to do something about it.”
“Sustainability in Leeds is definitely a big challenge. However, Leeds has plenty of innovative people and projects who are tackling things from the bottom up. Pedallars arms, a bike co-operative that gets people from all backgrounds cycling around the city. Scrap centre for reuse takes disused materials and turns them into art supplies for creative education and Leeds Repair Cafe help to repurpose broken and cast-off materials. I would love more people to start cycling and also be aware of the unhealthy, dangerous air pollution levels in the city.”
One of the ways in which Elemental are helping sustainability in Leeds is with their 3 course pay as you feel dinners ‘Elemental Bistro’. All the food served during the bistro comes from The Real Junk Food Project, who started in Leeds and now operate in over 130 cities globally. They intercept and save food from supermarkets and restaurants that would otherwise get thrown away and end up in landfill.
Tami says: “It’s not waste until it’s wasted.”
The last bistro proved successful, with the proceeds (over £1000!) splitting 50/50 between Rainbow Junktion and Leeds Tidal. Rainbow Junktion operates in a cafe space in All Hallows’ Church, and has 3 core aims: reduce food waste, build awareness and unify a community.
They run a community cafe on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays whilst running bistros in the evening for the general public. Leeds Tidal is a movement that empowers groups with skills and knowledge to take part in the activist community. They facilitate cross-activist campaigns fighting some of the biggest issues of our time such as climate change, austerity and racism on local front-lines.
It’s really rare to get a church, a bunch of volunteers, environmentalists, Leeds locals and eager hungry students together in one room. There aren’t really that many opportunities to form reciprocal relationships between students, change makers and the local community which makes the Elemental Bistro quite a unique event.” Tami tells us.
“We’ve cultivated a really positive feeling and raised a lot of money as well as getting more people thinking about what they can do individually for the environment. What I’m really looking forward to hosting events in a larger event spaces around Leeds.”
If you’d like to get involved, Tami assured us that Elemental Bistro will become more regular: “Since every event has sold out, there’s clearly a demand for something different. Expect the next Elemental Bistro some time in April!”