Bridging Resources for Ecological and Art-based Development
On December 9th, 2009, I3C officially launched the BREAD Movement, Bridging Resources for Ecological and Art-based Development (http://connect2culture.culture360.org/2009/12/09/a-bread-house-in-my-great-grandmothers-house/) within the framework of the Culture Futures Global Meeting on Arts and Ecology(http://www.culturefutures.org) preparing recommendations to the UN Global Forum on Climate Change COP15 The BREAD Movement inspires people from around the world to join and make the first step toward sustainable, responsible lifestyle: making one’s own bread, and making it collectively as a leisure entertainment!
The BREAD Movement was conceptualized with the creation of the first Bread House community cultural center in Bulgaria in May 2009, associated with the Slow Food International Movement and Terra Madre Network of more than 80,000 Food Communities on all continents (http://www.slowfood.com and http://www.terramadre.org). Other Bread Houses (or cultural centers with BREAD Programs) were already inspired in 7 countries, and Service for Peace International (http://www.serviceforpeace.org) is working on incorporating the BREAD Program in their efforts to consolidate Communities of Peace around the world.
The BREAD Movement is propelling world-wide a long-term series of collective bread-making activities to build the bridge between art and ecology by organizing:
- making bread together (ecologists argue that making one’s own bread is the first step to sustainable lifestyle; for its sculpture-like nature, bread-making is also among the most engaging means of communication and engagement)
- in inter-generational and inter-ethnic mixed groups
- as an artistic, amusing, and bonding experience (animating the bread-baking time with arts activities, discussions, and trainings)
- held regularly, weekly or monthly,
- at a) community cultural centers (you can identify centers in your country and neighborhood through I3C’s website www.international3c.org; or locate other local centers and networks/associations of community cultural centers and let us know); or, b) if no such community center exists, initiate a BREAD Group in a private home/living room and work in the long run to create a Bread House, “bread” standing for the actual food and also for its mission of “bridging resources for ecological and arts-based development”: in this long-term effort to create a center, it is important to seek partnership with the local and national authorities and private donors, and to also conecptualize how to multiply the Bread Houses and develop a national network, center by center, in different neighborhoods to secure sustainability in systemic social change;
- no need to seek external/donor funding for the basic BREAD Movement activities (while often partnerships are needed and healthy for the creation of centers and their networks, as specified above): it takes not money but inspiration and readiness to share and exchange ( flour, ideas, and artistic skills) as the driving force for the groups to meet and build a sustainable community; not waiting for project funding is also a crucial way to develop local actions free from the dependency on the imposed Western “project thinking”;
- engage locals (from all ages) to voluntarily lead the bread-making and connect it to other creative/arts activities they know (anyone is an artist!:, from telling stories to knitting, painting, doing amateur theater or rapping);
- develop the arts during the bread rising and baking time (if no oven is available, each person can take the risen dough home to bake).
Bread-making as an art form and educational technique and research (focus group discussions) methodology has already been tested by Nadezhda Savova (I3C president, researcher fellow at Princeton University) in workshops she organized in around-the-world conference trip over 3 months in 2009, developing the BREAD Movement concept. Nadezhda has observed how bread-making is among the most effective methodologies for engaged education and community participation, as it has also widely drawn men, who rarely participate in standard educational and community arts workshops.
Workshops with different religious groups and immigrant communities, as in Cape Town with Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, African animists, and atheists, showed the unifying and peace-building power, not in inter-religious “dialogue” but inter-religious “making” the most basic and universal human sustenance for life! Bread as a symbol and as a tactile experience also embraces spiritual and religious values, and communities within the BREAD Movement are encouraged to think how to inter-weave the community ecology with local spiritual practices, so sustainability would have strong roots in people’s hearts and minds as much as in their local soil.
The way I3C strives to propel ecological change systemically is by engaging in the BREAD Movement bread-making the world-wide I3C associated national networks, making up thousands of centers. Where such national networks of community cultural centers do not exist, I3C has the mission to capacity-build and back up local civil society in their dialogue with governments for the creation of a local and national network of community cultural centers, which could also become, when incorporating bread-making and ecology in their work, members of the Bread Houses Network and the Global BREAD Movement.
I3C has already consulted cultural officials in Argentina, Costa Rica, and South Africa on strategies to develop and coordinate such national networks, whose administration and animation is then decentralized at the community level to local organizers. I3C believes that sustainable change on a large scale has to be rooted deep locally while it is multiplied and connected as a pattern nationally and internationally, in particular networks of physically built collective space due to their permanent local presence and ability to bring the community together.
The BREAD Movement is a global initiative but carried very locally like grains of wheat in the hands of individuals and communities across continents, where people unite around a table because of love for the small things in life – the loaf of bread and the poem – taking action to save their food diversity and cooking traditions as a way to save their social and spiritual vitality. In the same way that a bread cannot be made by one individual grain of wheat, so it takes people in a community to come together, carrying bits of flour to add to a bowl. As we knead a reality of more flavor and touch in modern society, round tables connect around the globe like nodules in a net:
grain by grain, one bread at a time
To join the BREAD Movement, you are welcome to send us a description of the events you plan to undertake, where, how often, etc. We can all add to one bread for humanity, enriched by all the various local ingredients.