What makes the Bread Houses Network unique?
From the first, small Bread House in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, the Bread House’s simple but new community-building model of collective bread-making and art-making became more and more popular and spread around the world. Since 2009, more than 10 Bulgarian cities and more than 20 countries on 6 continents have been inspired by the model and are currently developing local initiatives part of the Bread Houses Network.
The Bread Houses are, in some cases, physical locations, and in others programs, run by people or organizations whom we have trained to host activities with our methods in various locations (community centers, schools, churches, etc. and in different countries that we coordinate).
The Bread Houses physical locations that our organization has established are two kinds:
- community socio-cultural centers (the main is the Bread House in Sofia, Bulgaria, and in a few other cities across Bulgaria)
- social enterprises-bakeries and community social centers (for team-building, children’s educational programs, etc.) that train and employ disadvantaged people while also serving as a social-cultural center. Тhis is the model of our NadEzhko Social Bakery (nadezhko.com) in Sofia, Bulgaria, which in 2019 was transferred to Latvia, in the city of Ventspils, as a kind of social franchise model, where the local Latvian sourdough bakery employing people with disabilities, is called Creative Bread Laboratory (in Latvian, Ramala), and uses the Bread Houses Network methods for community baking events and is thus a part of our network.
The Bread Houses community social programs are run in 20+ countries on 6 continents by people or organizations that we have trained in the BHN methods and are licensed to then locally apply the model with diverse groups addressing different social issues. You can find some of them and their diverse, inspiring professions, bread-related passions and stories on our global platform Bakers Without Borders.
The Bread Houses Network connects the following countries by cooperating with local partner organizations, where we have organized collective bread-making events and/or where currently local organizations are further developing programs (listed in order of their active engagement and on-going work):
Bulgaria (May 2009 – present)
– Bread Houses physical spaces: 8 cities with 10 houses (Sofia (2), Gabrovo (2), Zlataritza, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Svilengrad, village of Prevala, village of Lobosh).
– Bread House programs (housed at one or a few host organizations whom we have trained in our methods and organize events): in the cities of Varna, Burgas, Pleven, Nova Zagora, Blagoevgrad, and others in progress.
Latvia (2018 – present)
First Bread House bakery-social enterprise outside Bulgaria opened doors!
City of Ventspils: In May 2018, BHN team trained 3 social workers, psychologists and community activists, from Latvia in its methods and social enterprise model. After the training, the first Bread House in Latvia opened doors in the city of Ventspils – as a social enterprise supporting financially the work of a center for mental health in the city. Following the model of the Bread Houses Network, implemented in Sofia, the Latvian Bread House functions as a combination of social bakery and community center. The social bakery is producing and selling typical Latvian bread and pastry products, as well as functioning as a coffee place. In the same premise, 4 facilitators, trained by the team of the BHN are providing free bread-making events for the local community, joined by people of different ages and from various social groups, as well as paid services for individuals, companies, and educational institutions. Recently, the Latvian team started to organize also Bread in the Dark events with blind facilitators.
USA (2010 – present)
– Princeton and Trenton, NJ: our first Mobile Bread House was built in 2013 in Princeton, developed in cooperation with Princeton University’s Engineering Department, with a wood-fired oven and big round table inside a mobile structure on wheels, is aimed at taking the joy of collective bread-making to neighborhoods in the Princeton and Trenton areas. The Mobile Bread House is being coordinated by Pete Abrams and local organizations supporting low-income youth in Trenton.
– New York: Emmaus House (http://www.emmaushouse-harlem.org/) social center serving the poor in East Harlem has been hosting baking events for the integration of various social groups (homeless, former prisoners and their families, people with various cultural backgrounds); in partnership with La Marqueta (116th and Park Avenue) at Breezy Hill Farm’s grocery, which owns one of few in the USA traditional French mobile wood-fired ovens, farmer and food activist Elizabeth Ryan brought the oven to Harlem for the birth of the Harlem Bread House program for Christmas 2011.
– University of Massachusetts – Amherst Bread House program: UMAA-Amherst launched a Pioneer Valley Bread House project (https://blogs.umass.edu/breadhouse/) to engage its students with the local community in solving local issues and building trust and joy among generations, ethnic groups, and disadvantaged groups (homeless veteran women with psychological trauma at a local shelter), and others.
– California: Sybil Leon in Bonito, CA, is currently working on developing a local program called BREAD Encounters (www.breadencounters.com) to offer Bread Therapy for families undergoing divorce, as well as engaging local elderly and youth in mixed community events.
—Twin Cities, Minnesota: BHN Crumbassador Adam Majewski, owner and baker of the Majestic Chef Bakery and Pastry Baker at the Wedge Co-op, is developing three programs for social change in the Twin Cities area in order to “create a beacon of hope, help develop future leaders in social change and improvement, and ensure those most in need are receiving the basic food needs for themselves and their families”. Adam plans to use the Theater of Crumbs method to organize puppet shows in which the attendees will teach each other about diversity within the community and will acknowledge the variety of their own opinions. The second program, called Let Them Eat Cake! is an initiative to support those in need with healthy food through picnics, meal events and meal deliveries. The third part of Adam’s campaign is Bakers On The Run! , where Adam will create a running team which will act as both a fundraising platform for events and activities. Moreover, the team will provide mentorship for future generations of food service professionals. Support this great initiative at: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bakers-without-borders-twincities#/
— Chicago: Morgan Jones, our BHN former intern and current passionate Crumbassador, took part in a series of national and international US events in 2019: the Welcoming America national fair of organizations from across the USA dedicated to inter-cultural social inclusion; the International Bread Symposium held at Johnson and Wales University, NC, where she presented the BHN social methods to people from across the globe; Morgan is currently working in Chicago and is volunteering to organize community baking events with various groups.
– Cuernavaca: on-going cooperation with the Mexican Institute for Cultural Diplomacy on a project to implement the Bread Houses Network model as community spaces for social entrepreneurship and inter-generational dialogue in order to lower the violence among low-income youth in the state of Morelos.
South Africa (2009 – present)
– Cape Town: in September-October 2009, BHN Founder held community baking workshops uniting the Beth-Uriel Center for youth without parent care (www.bethuriel.co.za) and the NOAH Old Age Home (www.noah.org.za), together with St. George’s Parish Hall (www.goarch.co.za), as well as cooperating with the Mfuleni Integral Center (also run by Ma Afrika Tikkun, www.maafrikatikkun.org.za) and community initiatives in the Khayelitsa ghetto area; in 2019, the BHN team returned to the Khayelitsa ghetto, as part of the global DIVE Project, and are currently cooperating with social entrepreneur Zikhona Madubela who founded the Street Side Bakery in just one small room but with the big dream to produce lactose-free products for allergic low-income people and to also foster community building through breadmaking.
– Johannesburg: Arekopaneng Integral Center (run by Ma Afrika Tikkun, www.maafrikatikkun.org.za) held community baking in September 2009
Italy (2009 – present)
– Matera, Basilicata, European Capital of Culture 2019 – on-going cooperation to develop a Bread (for Social Change) Cultural Route between Bulgaria and Italy; BHN team was invited in 2014 to organize community baking with people with Down Syndrome and the European Commission selecting European Capital of Culture 2019
– La Gagiandra (www.lagagiandra.org) social enterprise bakery, Venezia (2013)
– Sardegna, Santadi, Slow Food Convivium (December 2010)
England, Ireland and Scotland (2011 – present)
– Cooperation with the national Real Bread Campaign and personally with its catalyst, baker Andrew Whitley: cooperation between the two organizations nurturing the new, social branch of the Real Bread Campaign, called Bread is Rising, aiming the social integration of people from disadvantaged groups through community baking programs.
— Ireland: Breezy Willow and her Bake Bread for Peace Day Initiative (October 24th each year) is growing into an international movement; Breezy has also been applying the BHN artistic methods in various community baking events, in particular in schools in Ireland teaching non-violence and tolerance.
— Scotland: Sue Beveridge, a pharmacist and socially engaged artist, came to the Sofia Bread House to get trained in our methods. Sue lives in the Highlands of Scotland near Inverness and after completing an. I am presently doing an MA at Dundee Art College on bread and dough as a cathartic means of self-expression, she is currently working to establish Bread Therapy in her area.
– London: Southbank Mosaics (www.southbankmosaics.com), training young offenders to develop public art works, where the collective bread-making events in 2011 opened up conversations and mutual support groups among the young offenders; Brixton, Wind Mill Project (www.brixtonwindmill.org) building a community garden with wheat and vegetables to be cultivated by the people from all ethnic groups in “the most diverse neighborhood in the world” was inspired by the BHN model to develop a community baking program for social cohesion.
– Cambridge: the Cambridge University Café Project (www.cafeproject.org), a volunteer-run café, organized community bread-making in order to mix university students and faculty with low-income local residents, including homeless people.
– Oxford: Yana Doncheva, our former BHN intern and current active Crumbassador, is working at Proforest in Oxford, and has presented BHN at international conferences in Italy, Romania, and University of Edinburgh.
— St. Andrews University: Jana Tauschinski and Silvia Bus, volunteers at the Sofia Bread House in 2018, are founders of the www.travellingfoodcast.com and are following innovative initiatives for social integration around food in Europe.
– Birmingham: South African community baker, artist and comedian Albert Smith, who came as volunteer at the Sofia Bread House, has been planning a Bread House in the UK and in the long run in his home country South Africa.
Germany (2016 – present)
— Bremen: Stefanie Neumann, cultural anthropologist, was officially trained and certified in the BHN methods in the summer of 2019 at the Sofia Bread House, and is currently developing a local Bread Therapy program.
— Lutz Geissler, world-renown baker and blogger, founder of www.ploetzblog.de , is our main partner in Germany for the promotion and distribution of our game Bakers Without Borders (https://www.ploetzblog.de/2016/03/02/baecker-ohne-grenzen-das-spiel/), inspiring people around Germany to employ breadmaking as a tool for social change.
— Dresden: „Kornkreise“(engl. “crop circles”) is a charitable training initiative for sustainable development of society and ecosystems. Using the BHN methods since 2016, “Kornkreise Dresden” organizes team building workshops and intercultural community baking events to build up cooperative neighborhood networks and to include disadvantaged people: www.facebook.com/kornkreisedresden.
Austria (initiated in 2013 and 2014)
In Vienna and Salzburg local community organisations were trained by BHN Founder in the BHN community baking methods and the Career Counseling Method „3S-Sifting-Shaping-Sharing“ to help immigrants and refugees.
Holland (2019- present)
Rolf Pauls was officially trained and certified in the BHN methods in the summer of 2019 at the Sofia Bread House, and is currently developing a local Bread Therapy program with hospice for elderly and with different church community outreach groups.
Eva Bakkeslett is an artist and bread maker from North Norway, who came to the Sofia Bread House for an artistic project, creating a Bread Book with hand-baked covers and pages. As a child, Eva learnt the art of baking from her grandmother and has since incorporated baking into her arts practice. She created the “The Companion Festival of Bread” in Devon, baked her MA thesis into a loaf of bread and has held many workshops and baking events in the UK, Norway, Bulgaria and beyond. Eva has also made several films about the aesthetics of baking bread that have won awards and been shown worldwide, including MoMa, New York.
New Zealand (since 2016 – present)
— New Plymouth: Franziska von Hünerbein is a baker, social activist and our Crumbassador in New Zealand. She runs a small organic sourdough bakery from home under the name Villa Bumblebee (https://www.facebook.com/Villa-Bumblebee-192790324620514/?epa=SEARCH_BOX). She started a local Crop Swap movement, which has now grown national: www.cropswap.co.nz. Franziska currently works at Green School New Zealand (https://www.greenschool.org/nz/), where she is planning to set up a bake house and apply the BHN methods for learners of all ages.
— Auckland: In July 2016, the „Te Henga Studios“ (http://tehengastudios.com/) which are located in the beautiful Waitakere Ranges, next to Auckland: Sally and Philipp held some „Theater of crumbs“ workshops. Sally is an Art-Therapist and inspired of new ways of group-communications. She runs the “Studios” as an Eco-Art-Retreat for everybody. Philipp is a “BakePacker” from Germany, who travels with a sustainable mission. He is co-founder of the German Association: “Kornkreise“(engl. “Crop circles”).
— Wellington: two artists inspired about community baking and bread therapy – American illustrator Molly Reeder and Simon Gray. Molly was a volunteer at the Sofia Bread House in 2015, and artist Simon started a community baking project in the poor neighborhood Porirua in Wellington.
Artists Ibrahim Abu-Helil and his wife Alexandra Anderson are cooperating with the Al-Balqa Art Gallery in Amman, Jordan, and executing various artistic and community engagement projects, most recently inspired by the power of bread as a symbol and tool for peace-building.
Israel/Palestine (initiated in March 2010)
– Jerusalem: Wujoud Arab Orthodox Cultural Center and Museum (www.wujoud.org) with a branch in Bethlehem
Russia (initiated in July 2010)
– Moscow: St. Daniil Monastery Youth Volunteers (www.danilovbells.com) started a Bread Therapy project at the Russian Children’s Hospital, Moscow, uniting children patients, parents and doctors to break bread.
– St. Petersburg: Fyodorov Subor Youth Center community baking
Brazil (initiated in December 2010)
– Florianopolis, Engenhos da Farinha Cultural Center/Ponto de Cultura coordinated by CEPAGRO, Slow Food Member (http://www.cepagro.org.br/projetos/ponto-de-cultura-engenhos-de-farinha/), cooperation as a result of our joint membership in Slow Food.
– Campo Grande, Casa de Ensayo Cultural Center/Ponto de Cultura (http://www.casadeensaio.org.br), cooperation as a follow-up to the Casa de Ensayo participation in the Summer School ASSiST (Arts and Sciences for Sustainability in Social Transformation), organized at the Bread House in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, in 2010.
– Rio de Janeiro: initiated in July 2012, during the World Climate Change Summit, where various community baking events were held, and BHN cooperated on a Make Bread, Not War protest in one of Rio’s favelas; cooperation with a bakery run by people with mental disabilities in Praia Vermelho.
Brasilia: (initiated in November 2012)
– Cooperation with social entrepreneur Eduardo Tavares towards establishing a Bread House bakery-social enterprise in Brasilia: Eduardo came to get trained in the BHN methods at the Bread House in Sofia, Bulgaria, in November 2015 and has been planning various social engagement and development initiatives with low-income communities.
– Cooperation with a local school in Brasilia and the Brasilia State University through Harvard University’s Pre-Texts program (www.pre-texts.org), integrating the Bread House methods in the Pre-Texts set of methodologies.
– Long-term cultural cooperation project between cultural centers (pontos de cultura) in Brazil and in Bulgaria (Bread Houses and chitalishte cultural centers), through personal meetings of Dr. Nadezhda Savova-Grigorova with the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, and the Deputy Minister of Culture, who then came to Bulgaria to participate in the First Global Summit of Community Cultural Centers, organized by us in 2014 in Tarnovo, Bulgaria.
Spain (initiated in October 2011)
– Barcelona: The international project TOUCH, funded by the European Cultural Foundation, with partners in Bulgaria, I3C and the FabriC Regional Cultural Center, Gabrovo; in Spain, University of Design, Barcelona; and in Denmark, Cultura 21 Nordic: organizing Bread in the Dark workshops for sight-impaired people to teach others how to open their senses beyond sight.
Serbia (initiated in June 2013)
– Leskovatz: Bread House opened in the Bulgarian village of Lobosh (December 2013) on the border between Serbia and Bulgaria as part of a EU cross-border cooperation project (http://www.breadbgrs.eu); workshops were organized in Lezkovatz, Serbia, to integrate people at an elderly-people’s home with local youth through collective bread-making.
Tadjikistan (initiated in fall 2012)
– Bulgarian Nadezhda Zdravkova, working with a development NGO in Tadjikistan, inspired a small village in the Pamir Mountains, on the border with Afghanistan, to create their own Bread House to build bridges among diverse ethnic groups.
Hungary (initiated in March 2011)
– Budapest: The Glove Factory Romani Cultural Center, district 8 (www.kesztyugyar.hu), bread-making for Roma and Hungarian cultural integration.
– The European Chamber (www.eucham.org), with main office in Budapest, developing cooperation on raising awareness of the need for social enterprises and the social business model and fomenting a new CSR culture.
Peru (initiated in July 2009)
– Andes, Ollantaytambo (below Machu Picchu), Tanta Wasi (Sonia’s Inka Bread House)
– Amazons, Iquitos, neighborhood of Belen/Bethlehem: Bread Therapy Program developed in cooperation with Patch Adams (father of the global Humor Therapy movement) at the local community health center sponsored by World Health Organization and run by the non-for-profit La Restinga, www.larestinga.org