Community via bread

Week 2 of taking orders & reflecting on bread's ability to cultivate community

Happy Tuesday morning!

First, Thank you all for showing up big. Last week was the first official week of bread sales from Bread & Justice, and this community really bought a lot of bread! 

I suspect we’ll sell out even more quickly this week, so if you’d like a loaf this Thursday - please check the bottom of this email for the steps on how to quickly place your order.

This past week I’ve been reflecting quite a bit on how much bread has fostered a sense of community for me in the past year. 

During my years in politics I read a great deal about American political history… but more recently I’ve developed an interest in the history of bread. This takes me well outside of the geography of America, and considerably earlier in time. 

There is an evolving understanding of how many thousands of years ago bread may have been invented. One thing that emerges continuously in the history of bread is that it has always had the effect of convening community.

Something that occurs to me is that communities of people sharing ovens for making bread must be one of the oldest & most cross-cultural phenomena in the world.  I’ve read about it in ancient Egypt, in medieval France, in Jewish congregations during the Middle Ages… and I recently ran across this Ted Talk about this neat little network of churches doing the same thing across Minnesota.

And while the oven at Bread & Justice is simply a home oven in our own kitchen… it sure feels like we’ve begun sharing it with our community in a way that is new to us, but also as old as time. Even before we started serving formal customers with bread, this oven was producing bread for social justice fundraisers. And before fundraisers, this oven has been producing bread that gave me an excuse to check-in on friends and let them know I was thinking of them. And along the way, most everything that I’ve learned about bread making in the past year has come from a community of bakers on the internet. These new friends (aka: former strangers) have been integral to my bread journey this year. And somehow the only thing that brought us together was the transcendental link between our ovens and the bread that we were making in these ovens for our respective communities.

I guess I just wanted to say that – in a year that felt like COVID-19 successfully sucked the life out of community for so many of us… it is immensely encouraging being reminded by you all that community can look a lot of different ways and still keep going strong.

You should also know that my daughter really enjoys being a part of this community, and she cherishes her role in the process of providing you all with bread. 🤗

See you soon!

Simple steps to ordering bread: 

  1. Check your inbox on Tuesday morning for this email announcing that pre-orders are live (good job, you already did that). Like last week, this week’s bread will be a large sourdough loaf made with a blend of Hard Red Spring Wheat and Hard Red Winter Wheat from Meadowlark Organics of Ridgeway, WI and a spring wheat flour from Guisto’s of San Francisco.

  2. Reply to this email to acknowledge how many loaves you’d like to request. This marks your spot in line, but your order isn’t official until you pay for your loaf.

  3. The final step is to make a payment of $8 per loaf for your bread. At this time payment is only accepted via Venmo to @BakingMo. All pre-orders must be complete by 11:59pm today.

  4. All Tuesday orders are fulfilled on Thursday and available for contactless pickup on the near-west side between 2pm - 7pm. (I’ll send you details for pickup)

P.S. A reminder that Bread & Justice is a philanthropic enterprise. What that means is that all profits from the sale of bread are donated to organizations working towards a more just society. This week, and throughout January, we are donating our profits to Second Harvest Food Bank & Feeding America. If you know of anyone who appreciates both good bread & real justice… please do share this newsletter with them.