Birmingham’s First Community Supported Bakery
Birmingham has become the first large city in the UK to get a ‘community-supported bakery’ as Loaf Community Bakery launches this January. Loaf is the brainchild of nutritionist, foodie, and artisan baker Tom Baker, who is director of the Birmingham-based bakery and cookery school. Loaf has adopted the innovative community-supported bakery model, meaning that bread is sold to individuals who pay a monthly subscription upfront in return for a loaf of bread each week.
Loaf Community Bakery follows in the footsteps of trailblazers in the field of community bakeries such as the Handmade Bakery in Yorkshire and the Oxford Bread Group. Subscribers to Loaf’s ‘bread club’ pay £11 a month for a weekly loaf of Revolution Rye or Cotteridge Sourdough bread, that are made with UK-grown organic flour. Loaves are collected from Tom’s home in Cotteridge, South Birmingham on a Friday evening, although a Saturday morning collection point is also in the pipeline. Sourdough bread uses ‘wild’ yeasts instead of commercial bakers yeast and a long fermentation process that yields a tastier and more nutritious loaf than yeasted manufactured bread. Sourdough bread also keeps for 5 days without any of the additives used in manufactured bread, and all for the price of a pint of beer!
76% of people eat bread every day, and 80% of our bread is produced by just 7 industrial bakers, churning out millions of sliced, wrapped, additive-laden loaves from automated factories each day. Supermarkets account for 15% more of the market, where many of the loaves are part-baked and frozen out of town, and then finished off in store. Buying bread from a craft bakery or a small community bakery like Loaf can help to drastically change the way we eat and is a small step on the journey to fixing the food chain. We need resilient local food systems as we face the challenges of climate change, and using small craft bakeries are one way in which we can reduce food miles and food waste.
If you’re interested in subscribing to Loaf Community Bakery you can find more information on www.loafonline.co.uk, or by emailing email@example.com. Tom also runs bread making and other cookery courses from his home in Cotteridge. For more information on the many issues surrounding our daily loaf, visit www.realbreadcampaign.org
Written by: Tom Baker