Ubuntu Handmade Bread
One of the successful applicants to our 2015 grant fund is Ubuntu Handmade Bread.
Who are Ubuntu Handmade Bread?
Ubuntu Handmade Bread is a community bread baking service, and seeks to change communities reliance on shop bought bread and to teach people to bake their own bread which is often healthier and cheaper to make. Ubuntu is a Nguni Bantu term roughly translating to “human kindness” or “humanity toward others,” but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”.
The inspiration behind Ubuntu Handmade Bread is South African Albert Smith, who left his home city of Johannesberg for the UK in 1996. Bread is a staple food in South Africa and Albert always used to make bread with his grandfather, so bread has always been central to his life.
Ubuntu Handmade Bread has been baked in Moseley, Handsworth, Digbeth, Smethwick and Bearwood; as well as from a mobile oven all over Birmingham. Ubuntu Handmade Bread currently supplies the Bearwood Pantry food co-operative.
The Wisdom Factory CIC first met Albert at a food festival at Hotel La Tour in 2013 and we were impressed by his passion and enthusiasm for his craft. Albert heard about The Wisdom Factory funding via his involvement with Friction Arts.
What will Ubuntu Handmade Bread use the grant for?
Ubuntu Handmade Bread is a social enterprise and profits from the sale of bread will be used to support local people to achieve their ambitions. The long term aim is to help some members in the community break the isolation they experience.
The funding will be used to help set up a bread house based on the work of Bulgarian Social Anthropologist Dr. Nadezhda Savova who is the catalyst for an international network of Bread Houses set up via the International Council for Cultural Centers (I3C). Currently there are no bread houses in the UK.
Bread making classes will be run to support many hard to reach groups in society. People recovering from substance abuse or mental illness; ex-offenders; asylum seekers; people with disabilities; and to encourage inter-religious and inter-generational dialogue. The project will run bread making classes at participants’ venues or in the Friction Arts kitchen.
There is a performance element to the bread making process which can include music, singing, and counselling. Albert started bread making himself to help recover from depression in 2010. As part of his treatment he took up stand up comedy; and at the same time, the bread making developed.
The project will provide Ubuntu Handmade Bread with evidence of the impact of the methodology and provide a reference for future projects.
Ultimately Ubuntu Handmade Bread aspires to set up a bakery with a shop front, with the oven in the shop so people can be involved in the theatrics of bread making.