Network of Centers for Social Entrepreneurship, Creativity, and Community-building
What is one thing that ALL PEOPLE LOVE?
What is one thing that ALL PEOPLE CAN MAKE?
What is one PLACE WHERE ALL PEOPLE CAN UNITE?
HOT BREAD, WOOD-FIRED OVEN, and TABLE!
Bread not bought, but made, and made with others as a collective art!
The Bread Houses Network’s mission is to inspire individuals and communities around the world to discover and develop their creative potential and cooperate across gender, age, ethnic, and religious background through collective bread-making and accompanying art forms and sustainable agriculture.
The name Bread House is a translation of the name of the city Bethlehem which literally means “House (bet) of Bread (lehem)”. The Bread Houses strive to encourage inter-religious dialogue, cooperation among different generations and professional and ethnic groups as all participants knead together around the same table.
During the baking time, people share their artistic talents, from poetry and music to theater and sewing. The major aim is to enable people to discover their creative potential and identify the local assets for problem-solving – rather than only delving into the local problems – to help one another move forward and promote co-existence through co-creation.
The Bread Houses are both physical locations – community cultural centers and/or community bakeries – as well as programs with series of events and festivals in more than 10 countries, where our programs promote local biodiversity, bio agriculture, and sustainability by arguing that making one’s own bread is the first step towards happier and more sustainable lifestyle. Based on this vision, the Bread Houses Network is a member of Slow Food International www.slowfood.com to apply Slow Food’s Taste Education toolkit in workshops with diverse groups.
On Terra Madre Day, December 10, 2010, the Global Terra Madre Network day, the Bread Houses were recognized by the Slow Food International as one of the word’s best models of ecological education. The Bread Houses Network plants seeds around the world for community cultural centers, helping participants understand the potential (and flavor!) of mixing art with food and understand how this method is one of the most effective ways to bring communities together in sustainable interactions and commitment to cooperation as people feel sense of ownership of their collective space/Bread House.
The ultimate mission of the Bread Houses is to base social cohesion in simplicity: this is how collective bread-making method/know-how as a form of shaping community relations evolved as an universal creative practice, because:
- hot bread is loved by all
-bread-making is enjoyed as an art as it resembles sculpture
- bread-making does not require special skills
- bread-making is not limited to gender, age, profession or ethnic belonging, uniting young and old, rich and poor, stranger and friend
The Bread Houses socio-cultural activities aim to offer a new model for how to run a social enterprise and a community cultural center by mixing art (from theater to applied arts) with bread-making as tools for inter-cultural and civil dialogue, co-creativity, and community cooperation. The socio-cultural activities, characterizing each Bread House, include (but are not limited to):
- Bread Ability Program: BH bakeries enabling people with physical and mental disabilities to mix with any other people in both work and informal bread-making groups
- Regular collective bread-making events (usually in the evenings after work and school hours) bringing diverse people together to make, bake, and share bread and also create arts and revive cultural traditions (theater, music, dance, crafts, painting, poetry, etc.)
- Slow Food Terra Madre Network membership: promoting local, ecological food (the food sold along with the bread, as well as the flour itself)
What problem (global and local) are we trying to solve?
We live in an era of virtual social networks (Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, etc.), which more and more companies imagine as the future of human communication. However, we have proven that people crave ever more for tangible relations: real touch with natural materials and real touch with people, which we make happen in the most immediate way through collective bread-making. Thus, the Bread Houses offer a new and alternative global social network, where people across the globe unite to make bread together (and share recipes, artistic talents, local traditions, etc.) and connect their bread-making events across continents through skype video conferencing weaving a real trans-national family, ultimately eating one bread and sharing one table.
Feeding into the global network, at the local level and issues of community development anonymity and individualism cause most problems that could otherwise be solved by social support networks. People need to discover and exchange their diverse skills in a community, but how to attract such different people to do a common thing and cooperate to also address local issues? Again, our tested community solution is making bread together, recovering the touch with others through the touch with food and with our internal creative potential.
Our network of unique community cultural centers and centers for social entrepreneurship bring people from all ages, socio-economic class, education, religious, and ethnic background around the one things that unites us all and that can awaken our creative potential: making bread whose shaping becomes a collective sculpting and decorative art, as well as an unparallel sense of community around the aroma and taste of our own hand-made hot breads. Bread then becomes the vehicle and occasion for cooperation, solving of local issues, social cohesion and co-existence, and co-creation of other art forms and cultural festivities, thus opening up enormous possibilities for holistic community development, neighborhood by neighborhood around the world in our constantly growing network.