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, A WOOD-FIRED OVEN, and A TABLE!
Bread not bought, but made, and made with others as a collective art!
The Bread Houses Network creates and unites centers for community-building, creativity, and social entrepreneurship with the mission is to inspire individuals and communities around the world to discover and develop their creative potential and cooperate across all ages, professions, gender, special needs, and ethnic backgrounds through collective bread-making and accompanying art forms and sustainable ecological education.
The broad vision of the Bread Houses Network is to base social cohesion in simplicity: the collective bread-making methods and know-how we have tested and developed proved to be efficient and creative ways of building relations and improving people’s lives, because of the simple yet powerful message and experience of bread:
– hot bread is loved by all
– bread-making (work with dough) 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 heritage, thus uniting young and old, rich and poor, stranger and friend
What is a Bread House and the Bread Houses Network?
The Bread Houses are physical locations we have established as well as educational and community-building programs run by people whom we have trained to host in various other locations (community centers, schools, churches, etc. and in different countries that we coordinate) with series of events and festivals. The Bread Houses physical locations that our organization has established are two kinds:
– community cultural centers (in Bulgaria and a few other countries) and
– social enterprises-bakeries that train and employ disadvantaged people while also serving as a social-cultural center (the first such bakery Bread House and serving as a model for our “social franchise” is located in Gabrovo, Bulgaria).
What does each Bread House, both non-for-profit center or social enterprise, strive to do? The Bread House seeks to encourage inter-religious dialogue, cooperation among different generations and professional and ethnic groups as all participants knead together around the same table. In our workshops, organized in weekly community programs, during the baking time, people share their artistic talents, from poetry and music to theater and sewing. Our mission is to enable people to discover their creative potential and identify the local assets (people, cultural traditions, natural resources, etc) for problem-solving – rather than only delving into the local problems – to help one another move forward and promote co-existence through co-creation.
What problems (global and local) are we trying to solve?
We offer not high-tech but HIGH-TOUCH solutions to social problems!
We live in an era starved of touch: 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 tangible relations ever more: real contact with natural materials and real contact with people, which we make happen in the most direct way through collective bread-making. Thus, the Bread Houses offer a new and alternative global social network, where people across the globe unite online as well as physically come to make bread together (and share recipes, artistic talents, local traditions, etc.) and connect their bread-making events across continents through Skype video conferencing. We ultimately weave a real trans-national family, eating one bread and sharing one table.
Most of the real deep causes of the challenges before community development worldwide are caused by the lack of unity and the conflicts among diverse groups of people, and as such the problems could often be solved simply by helping unite and engage people in dialogue to start forming social support networks. People need to discover their own talents and creative potential and to then be able to share these gifts with each other. However, the issue is how and where to enable people to overcome their personal inhibitions and the divisions between their groups, and, perhaps most importantly, to inspire them to engage in true cooperation beyond superficial dialogue?
Our answer to this serious question comes out of a simple activity that became a tested community solution: getting people to make bread together, especially with some other accompanying community art form, has proven successful in helping people recover the touch with others through finding joy in the touch with food and with our internal creative potential. The space of a Bread House creates an unparalleled sense of community around the hot bread aroma and taste. 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.
What are the Bread Houses Network’s main activities?
The Bread Houses Network’s Programs include:
– Bread Therapy Program: Programs specially tailored to serve both as therapy, in small groups of people with various special needs – mental, psychological, physical, autism, both adult and children – with the support of trained psychologists/therapist; this program’s mission is to also facilitate the social integration of people with special needs by enabling them to mingle through open collective bread-making events with diverse other people.
– Bread Breaking Boundaries Life-long Learning Program: regular, community-based, collective bread-making events, usually in the evenings after work and school hours, bringing people of all ages, professions, and cultural backgrounds together to make, bake, and break bread and also create arts and revive cultural traditions (theater, music, dance, crafts, painting, poetry, etc.)
– “Bread Building” team building program: for companies and organizations, we offer special services to help nurture better relationships inside the work teams as well as to inspire the businesses to develop Corporate Social Responsibility programs to engage more sustainably and in a more human-to-human and humane way communities and their development.
– “HedgeHope” Children’s Program: informal, after-school educational programs tailored for children and youth at schools or commununity centers teaching various topics through experiential learning based around hand work with dough, including making bread puppets through our Theater of Crumbs method
– Ecological and Food Education Program (developed through our Slow Food Terra Madre Network membership):
1) Ecopedagogy: teaching about ecology and food through the special means and mission of Ecopedagogy, selected as a good practice to be shared in the International Handbook on Ecopedagogy (available at http://bcslde.org/). As many ecologists have argued, we believe that making one’s own bread is the first step towards happier and more sustainable lifestyle and we add to this the key component of community baking as a means for community building and cooperation.
2) Slow Food International (www.slowfood.com) partnership: as Slow Food members, we also apply Slow Food’s Taste Education Toolkit, and on Terra Madre Day, December 10, 2010, the Global Terra Madre Network day, the Bread Houses Network was recognized by the Slow Food International as a prominent model of ecological education.
3) Global grain bank: cooperating with farmers to inspire the preservation of ancient grain varieties and promoting local, ecological flours and foods to be preserved and sold through our social enterprises-bakeries Bread