All of our work promotes the social, economic, cultural and health benefits of making bread using slow fermentation and grain grown and milled in the region. We particularly want the benefits of this work to reach those with the most limited access to healthy food, people who are marginalised or face barriers to employment, to optimal health, to education and social opportunities.
After ten years of running breadmaking courses and championing the cause of real bread, we have begun to make this creative space available to more individuals and groups.
Working with young people who are seeking to build ethical and sustainable livelihoods, the next generation of change makers, is enlivening our practice and increasing their capacity in equal measure. The holistic experience of getting our hands, literally, in the soil and in the dough whilst we discuss everything from plant biology to social history gives us a rich, liberating context in which we can all become creative.
The sense of agency, of being able to contribute something of value, and the pure physical enjoyment of handling flour and water, transforming them into a loaf to share and enjoy, are as simple as they are powerful. No-one who joins in a breadmaking session in a safe and nurturing place fails to be affected by it. By attending to the group dynamics and to individual experiences, as well as to the social and cultural meanings of bread, to the telling of its stories, we bring a further dimension to our creative use of breadmaking as a medium for change.
Whether young people come as sourdough exchangers to spend a few days immersed in farming and baking or they encounter Bread Matters in a workshop elsewhere, they take away a sourdough starter, an invigorating sense of its possibilities and a desire to share it.
By introducing the basic skills and simple tools for making bread to people in diverse communities, change makers open the door to citizens having control over their daily bread and the ability to nourish healthy people from the fields around them. Fairer shares and food sovereignty go hand in hand with a healthier local economy and greater social cohesion. Changing the way we do bread can transform the way we look after ourselves, each other and the places we live in, for good and all.
If you would like to know more about this work or to support it, please contact Veronica at Bread Matters.
We hosted a group of 25 Otesha cyclists for the preparatory five days in their tour of sustainable food businesses in the Scottish Borders. They ran workshops, ate food from the smallholding and a lot of bread, contributed some labour and fertility to the land - and learned about our integration of thinking and doing.
We have plans (when resources allow) to develop more work with Otesha and with the Edinburgh-based ‘Pollinators’, who have grown Bread Matters’ organic wheat in their work with primary school children and will be baking the product.
The DO was a weekend of learning and doing, based at Edinburgh University, created by and for young people. We gave two groups of participants a sourdough starter culture, instructions and recipes, shared bread and debunked the myths that inhibit people from ‘having a go’. We told some of the inter-generational stories associated with sourdough in different cultures and encouraged young people to use theirs to feed themselves, their friends or a community group some real bread - and to pass it on, creating new connections to the land and to each other, starting a new story.
Eleven young change-makers exchanged two days of their labour on the smallholding for a bread making class, a sourdough starter and a joyful exploration of all-things-bread.
Six change-makers, most of them already passing on their skills and enthusiasm, came to learn more, to cook, eat, tell stories and share meals; to harvest, thresh, winnow, mill and bake with this season’s rye.
For this exchange we had a designated cook, Alice, who prepared great meals with just-picked salads and vegetables, herbs, edible flowers and a generous spirit. We were joined by three film makers from A Moment's Peace theatre company. Their five minute piece will form part of the I Could Eat a Horse project.
"I was inspired by the ethos and passion involved. It was exciting to learn about how something so simple and a part of every day life can make a massive change to society...It encouraged community, skill sharing, healthy eating, environmental issues and discourse about society and politics." (Edinburgh DO)
Comments on the Exchanges included enjoyment of such wholesome food, feeling welcomed and like family, the eloquent rants, being told how to be helpful; and the kindness and generosity returned, learning that bread has such an interesting and political history, and,
"the balance of learning and being immeasurably inspired, with the simple doing and being in the wind with the plants."