During Interfaith week, Leeds artist and food blogger Freda Shafi has been working with Leeds Church Institute on a faith and food inspired project. 

Freda has been meeting with people across the city of Leeds, having conversations within several faith settings this week. “As part of this project, I have spoken with groups of Jewish, Muslim and Catholic women and listened to stories about food scarcity and how that is connected to religious beliefs and the special role favoured dishes have in community connections. Food stories can unite communities, even though they will have we all may have different ways of practicing our faith”

Freda will be producing artwork inspired by her conversations with the groups she has met during Interfaith week, “I have enjoyed hearing how food can bring people together, and there are some dishes that reach across religious and cultural divides. I have discovered that food is more than just nourishment. My conversations with the faith groups have been enlightening and poetic.  I have learnt so much about how, for many faiths, food relates to the earths bounty through seasonal festivals and more. There is a genuine and real sense of community, camaraderie and synergies across faiths. Food is indeed a natural conduit to unite people and humanity

There are some clear themes emerging from the conversations already, in particular stories about friendship and sharing food with our neighbours. All the faith groups Freda has been in conversation with have teachings about feeding the poor, reaching out the hand of friendship to neighbours and being good stewards of the harvest.

Over the next few months, Freda will be compiling a collection of faith based food stories for a book and she is keen to hear from Leeds Church Institute Members, faith organisations in the city and especially projects that are linking together in faith and sharing meals and recipes.

Bronagh Daly, LCI Faith and Creativity Lead said “This project reflects LCI aims of learning as a faithful city. During Interfaith week Freda’s work helps us to learn more about different and distinct faith communities here in Leeds. The food stories Freda shares from the women at Bangladeshi Centre, Catholic churches and the Jewish communities help to inform our work here at LCI. We look forward to lots more food and faith conversations with diverse communities in Leeds as the project continues.”


For more information about the ‘Faith, Food and Unity’ project or to share your story contact [email protected]

Freda Shafi is an artist, cultural consultant and Food Blogger contact details –

[email protected]

Instagram handle : Fredashafi_spiceitup