The Bread Houses Network took active part in the international Tastes of the Danube Project and its final conference and public event “Breakfast on the Bridge” in Ulm, Germany, in July 2016. The project and the big international event, where BHN Founder Dr. Nadezhda Savova-Grigorova was among the keynote speakers, strengthened a network along the Danube of people and organizations working with bread as a tool for unity and community-building.
Nadezhda’s long-envisioned dream to create a European and then global Bread (for Social Change) Cultural Route attracted many more partners and co-visionaries, and thus BHN continues to work towards the realization of the Cultural Route, with concrete contact points, places to visit, and events and programs to take part in the currently 20 European countries where BHN has developed partnerships.
Watch a video of the final public event of the Tastes of the Danube Project, an international Breakfast on the Bridge with traditional breads,music, and dances from all Danube countries.
We are proud to share, that Nadezhda Savova-Grigorova, founder and director of the International Council for Cultural Centers (I3C) and the Bread Houses Network (BHN) has received the Iconic Innovative Trailblazers of the Decade award. It is bestowed by the Women Economic Forum 2016, which has taken place between May 16 and May 21 in New Delhi, India. The prize has been granted to Nadezhda for her contributions for the global development of social entrepreneurship.
Nadezhda, who holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology by Princeton University, is the creator of Bread Houses Network. It started eight years ago in the Bulgarian town of Gabrovo, and nowadays it spreads over five continents and in twenty countries. The Network develops socio-cultural centers, which function as bakeries at the same time. Their mission is to unite the local communities through bread making, and to revive the tradition to prepare authentic sourdough bread. The main instrument for social change applied by the Organization is community bread making that has social, therapeutic, cultural, and educational character.
The knowledge and the experience acquired through the years with Bread Houses Network are summed up in the game Bakers without Borders, created by Nadezhda and her husband. Recently the game has received the Intercultural Innovation Award by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. With the resources by the award Nadezhda plans to work on the global distribution of the game. This is the first of her priorities, and the second is to further develop Bread in the Dark, a program whose mission is to connect sight-impaired facilitators with sighted people in 100% darkened environment where the group engages in bread-making as a catalyst for dialogue on various existential questions, experienced tangibly through the processes of kneading bread as metaphors for life.
The award, a partnership between the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group, supports grassroots initiatives that promote intercultural dialogue and understanding. This year’s edition of the IIA was presented at a dedicated ceremony on 26 April during the 7th Global Forum of the UNAOC.
“Bakers without Borders” was selected amongst close to 1000 applications from more than 120 countries. In addition to monetary support, our project will receive mentoring from UNAOC and BMW Group to support its evolution. We will have the opportunity to participate in training activities and workshops, as well as to become part of the exclusive “Intercultural Leaders” network.
“Bakers without Borders” is an interactive, non-competitive board game which presents real cultural anthropology in an accessible way for people of all ages and backgrounds. Players unite in community bread-making events, mixed with artistic activities. They go through creative brainstorming sessions on social problems and social entrepreneurship, experiencing the transformative exchange of personal stories or dreams linked to cultures around the world
The Bread Houses Network is among the ten finalists for the Intercultural Innovation Award given by United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group. By supporting sustainable and innovative, intercultural grassroots initiatives with the potential for expansion and replication, the Intercultural Innovation Award aims to contribute to peace and to building more inclusive societies.
Launched in 2011, the Intercultural Innovation Award is the result of a unique public-private partnership between the UNAOC and the BMW Group. This year the competition was very high – the ten finalists were selected among close to 1000 applications from 120 countries. The final rankings will be announced during the 7th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 26th of April.
The awarded project “Bakers without Borders – Game and Network” is about replicating the 7-year long experience of the Bread Houses Network with community bread-making events as tools for intercultural dialogue and community cohesion, across more than 20 countries on 5 continents. “Bakers without Borders” (thegame.bakerswithoutborders.net) is an interactive, non-competitive board game which is the first to present real cultural anthropology in the format of a game for people from all ages and backgrounds. Playing the game helps people unite in community bread-making events and experience creative brainstorming sessions on social problems, social entrepreneurship, and the transformative exchange of personal stories linked to different cultures around the world. The project will support the adaptation of the game into Spanish and French (available in German) and its distribution in at least four new countries where cultural cohesion is needed.
During one year, the selected initiatives can enjoy invaluable expert know-how and resources from the BMW Group and UNAOC. In addition to receiving monetary support, the finalists will have the opportunity to participate in training activities and workshops covering diverse subjects such as strategy and planning, implementation analysis and media training, as well as to become a part of the exclusive “Intercultural Leaders” network.
You can learn more about the Award here.
Check out UNAOC’s Facebook page here.
In February, all people in the area are invited to attend the next Pioneer Valley Bread House gathering. Join the Bread House team and the cohost, the Performance Studies Graduate Student Association, for storytelling, bread baking and celebration: moving away from winter and toward summer solstice!. The event is free and open to all.
Visit our new bakeries-specialized website
Here it is our new platform, connecting social bakeries from all over the world. You can learn more on the webpage and join our cause .
The game will be available for sales starting in December through our partner, Lutz Geissler, and his famous bread-related blog, https://www.ploetzblog.de/.
Also, you could read more about our organization and the game in German at the blog of our other main German partner, Vasilena, at her blog www.microbusinesshero.de. Read here the first part of the interview, the second part coming up soon: https://microbusinesshero.de/
Write to us or directly to Lutz or Vasilena if you are interested in the game. The game has a primary social mission, because in addition to families, it is perfect for people with disabilities, traumas and depression, and various social institutions (orphanages, elderly people’s homes, hospitals, rehab groups and centers, etc.). Also, schools and kindergartens can greatly benefit from it.
If you are such organizations, networks, or know of networks that can be interested, we will be grateful if you connect us. Become with us and through the game better than changemakers – ChangeBakers! 🙂
by Nadezhda Savova-Grigorova
In March 2014 I had the chance to visit Austria and its Alpine part around Salzburg for the first, as I was invited there by a network of life and career guidance organizations, which help the social integration and career guidance of low-income immigrants and refugees. They wanted me to train them in the alternative career guidance method “3S: Sifting-Shaping-Sharing”, which I had developed to orient students and young people towards socially-responsible and creative professions: we do this by a mix of collective bread-making with three role games and many metaphors, story-telling, and imagination of potential future professional and personal paths.
I thought that I will have to do the workshop in a standard room with a few school desks put together as a table. However, what was my surprise, when in the late afternoon Kathrin, the organizer, asked me: “Are you ready for an adventure? The workshop will be high in the mountains, in a mountain hut!” I was so excited!
We drove almost 2 hours from Salzburg, but since it got dark I could not see the surroundings. The last portion of the road started winding up a steep mountain until we reached, literally, the very last house before the peak. Below us there was a valley with little dots of lights, sprinkled like light-bugs, and in front of us a wooden house made of round pine-tree logs. Inside, a wood-fired oven was burning and warming the place, effusing the aroma of baking bread, and a smiling blond woman gave me a strong hug. “Hi, I am Roswitha. And this is Schule Am Berg, School in the Mountain, where I teach school children from around Austria traditional bread-making with sourdough!”.
As I was meeting the other people and their children gathered for the workshop, suddenly an African man entered with a huge smile. Roswitha was so surprised to see him on such a freezing, late evening – he was one of her students, a hobby baker, and it so happened that he also worked helping refugees settle in Austria, as he himself had once been a refugee, escaping poverty and violence in Africa. He had come to surprise and see Roswitha, but imagine his amazement at hearing about our workshop – he was the perfect person to join and also get trained in the 3S method!
So, it all felt like a dreamed fairy-tale: an amazing place with amazing, inspired people, who God somehow brought together on that cold night high up in the Alps. The participants agreed that the method can be very useful in their work with refugees and immigrants, since bread-making creates a common language and equality and can easily open sincere discussions about past and future goals in life.
When saying good-bye to Roswitha, she assured me that she would invite me to come back for the big international Bread Festival in Rauris, the village, which she organizes every two years.
And so she did: in September 2015 I was back to Rauris for the International Bread Festival, together with my husband Stefan, because Roswitha wanted us to lead a large workshop for 40 people with the Theater of Crumbs method. We arrived again the same way as my first time to Roswitha’s School, late on a cold night, and as we entered the warm house, another amazing group of people expected us: Albanian folk musicians and bakers, who were singing songs, which sounded familiar to what I had heard in 2011 when I was in Albania. And, indeed, it turned out that they were from a region where I had been, and they were Orthodox Christians, which was a tiny group in Albania, a largely Muslim country. What was the chance that I would meet them in the Austrian Alps?!
During the days of the festival, I was so happy to see the Albanians make “burek”, a pastry filled with cheese that is the same as the Bulgarian burek or baniza, and bake it in a special oven, looking like a hot clay plate with a metal lid, covered in coal. The Albanians call it “frushnik”, we in Bulgaria call it “vrushnik” – how many similarities, even if our languages are completely different! At the same time, Austrian master bakers were making all kinds of breads, pretzels, and other specialties, and baking them in a few intriguing metal mobile ovens, which reminded me of the mobile oven we built for the homeless in Brighton Beach, New York. Well, certainly a small world – and all united around bread-making!
After our workshop in the Theater of Crumbs method, many of the participants were so inspired and said that they will immediately start trying our the method in their communities or work, especially since in Austria there is a widely spread tradition in the villages for families to have their own wood-fired breadovens and to every now and then open them to other members of the community to come and bake there. And now, they had a great method to do the baking in a much more engaging and inspiring way, across ages and cultures.
During the Bread Festival, I also had a lecture on the first, Conference day, about the vision and various programs of the Bread Houses Network. I presented the BAKERS WITHOUT BORDERS global platform and also the very new educational inter-cultural and inter-generational game Bakers Without Borders, which attracted so much interest, that it is currently being translated in German.
And, finally, after meeting so many open-hearted bakers, inspired to do good in their communities, after the festival we launched a new online platform, BAKERIES WITHOUT BORDERS, specially for socially-oriented bakeries: www.bakerieswithoutborders.net. Join one day!
In the beginning of July, the Bread Houses Network welcomed a representative of the Italian town Matera – European Capital of Culture for 2019 to continue their successful cooperation with local artists. For a visit of the Bread Houses in Sofia and Plovdiv – the other European Capital of Culture for 2019, came Andrea Santantonio – a director, photographer, and a big fan of the cultural and unifying aspect of bread making. Since last year, Andrea has been cooperation with the Bread Houses Network developing a European Cultural Route “Bread Route” connecting both Europeran Capitals of Curture in Bulgaria and Italy and all the countries in-between. The long term vision is to establish a Bread House program in Matera.
More information about the Bulgarian part of the Cultural Route “Bread for Social Change” can be found here: http://www.breadhousesnetwork.org/travel-with-mission/