Community-supported baking is not just about having a local bakery in your neighbourhood. It involves a stronger relationship between baker and customer, with customers paying for bread in advance, so that bakers know they have a guaranteed market, and nothing is wasted. Customers can also get opportunities to learn about the traditions and craft of baking, plus they can become ‘bread baskets’ – buying loaves in bulk to sell on to work colleagues, family, neighbours or friends, often receiving a free loaf for every ten or so sold. The close relationship with the community reduces the risk involved with starting a new business, and so encourages more micro-bakeries.
Here’s a lot more info about the concept of community-supported baking from the Real Bread Campaign.
What to do
1. Find your local scheme
Here is a listing of community-supported bakers in the UK. However, it doesn’t seem to be kept up-to-date, so you may be successful if you search on ‘community-supported bakery / baking / bread and the name of your town. For example, here are some CSBs that are not on the Real Bread Campaign’s list.
Do let us know if you know of any more.
2. Other sources of non-corporate bread
First, don’t be fooled by the term ‘artisan’ bread. Corporate supermarkets are selling it now, and there is no legal protection of the term ‘artisan’, so it could be additive-laden and exploitative.
Here’s a map of over 1000 ‘real bread’ suppliers from the Real Bread Campaign. However, some of them (like Le Pain Quotidien) are large chains. We’ll leave it to you to weed out the corporate bakers from this listing.
3. Start a CSB scheme
Here is a book / information from the Real Bread Campaign about starting a CSB.
Bread Matters run a community baking course in Scotland, and Virtuous Bread run a micro-bakery course in London. Search online – there’s a lot more out there in the way of courses and information on starting and running a bakery.
Plus here’s a way to get a voluntary placement working alongside an experienced baker, in various locations around the country.