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.
Bread Houses Network
On December 27th, 2009, the Bread Houses will celebrate their first Christmas (where celebrated)/New Year Resolutions Day under the theme Take the first step towards an ecological life-style in 2010, across various time and climate zones! If you would like to join us in our global skype exchange with bread and art-related activities transmitted through video and sound, do not hesitate to write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first Bread House was created at the beginning of 2009 as a community experiment by Nadezhda Savova, ceding her greatgrandmother’s house to become a community space. The Bread House is a member of the Slow Food Terra Madre Network as a Food Convivium promoting the use and preservation of a local indigenous wheat called limez. Since May 2009, the Bread House concept has inspired others around the world through contacts made at conferences and meetings. The Bread Houses and the Bread House Programs are ordered according to the chronology of joining the group:
- Bulgaria, Gabrovo: St. Christopher Bread House, member of the Slow Food Terra Madre Network of Food Convivia, established May 2009
- Italy, Bari: Pane di Alta Mura Slow Food Presidium, twinned with BH St. Christoher, est. July 2009
- Peru: 1) Iquitos, Belen: PAHO/WHO Community Project “Arts as a Bridge to Health,” Belen Integral Health Center with Bread House (Belen) Program, to be established in 2010; 2) Ollantaytambo: Casa del Pan/Tantawasi (in Quechua) San Cristobal at the house of Sonia Reis, developing cultural tourism, est. August 2009
- Korea, Seongnam: Sarangbang Community Cultural Centers Network (est. 2007), linking a community bakery to amateur art groups
- South Africa: 1) Johannesburg: Arekopaneng Community Cultural Center Bread House Program; 2) Cape Town: a) Beth-Lehem at Beth-Uriel Program, incorporated in September 2009; b) Thandeka’s Bread House in Khayelitsa, to be est. in 2010
- Croatia, Island of Vis: Slow Food Restaurant organizing bread-making workshops for children and parents within summer school programs, joined the Network in November 2009
- Israel & Palestine, Bethlehem: Bread House Beth-lehem in Bethlehem being planned in partnership with Service for Peace; to be est. in 2010, for the World Bread for Peace Day, September 21st, 2010
- Phillipines: Maria Rosa’s community cultural center Bread House Program, making colorful pizza mandala and Catholic christmas breads along local documentary movie workshops, joined the BREAD Movt in December 2009 at Culture Futures, COP15.
- England, London: artist Clare Patey organizes the Feast on the Bridge annual festival of locally-grown urban food in London, grows wheat in London suburbs and is building a mobile bread oven to tour England in summer 2010; developing Bread House Program workshops concept for London community cultural centers together with cook book writer Anissa Helou and ecological consultant Ella Saltmarshe; joined the BREAD Movement in December 2009 at Culture Futures, COP15.
- Denmark, Copenhagen: Harlev Radiator Factory Community Youth Cultural Center (www.radiatorfabbrik.de), part of the Danish National Network of Community Cultural Centers (I3C Associated Network); host cake-making and rapping/hip-hop dance nights for mixed groups of youth from diverse immigrant backgrounds, joined the BREAD Movt in December 2009 at Culture Futures, COP15.
Steps in Workshops, Classes, and Community Activities Parallels between bread-making and problem solving and community building
- Aerating (called ”humanizing”) the flour: during this process, begin to freely brainstorm ideas on a certain topic; as ideas are let out of one’s mind to “breathe” and shared with others, more possibilities open up for them to acquire oxyden and be”humanized”and realized
- Sifting the flour: beginning a gradual process of ordering the ideas in thematic categories
- Adding the yeast (and salt and sugar): the facilitator adds critical analysis and more ideas not considered so far by the participants, acting as a catalyst for new ideas
- Adding the water, gradually mixing and kneading long, with balanced pressure: a process of consolidating the initial and the latter ideas into a coherent system with well-defined and also inter-connected spheres useful in an integrated, holistic approach to social well-being
- Letting the dough “sleep”/rise (40 minutes to an hour): avoiding hurried conclusions and actions, leave time for ideas to “sleep over,” to germinate and evolve, so that the ensuing action has much greater chance to gain success and sustainability;
- Baking the bread (if no oven is available, each person can take the risen dough home to bake): engage local volunteers (from all ages) to animate the baking time with arts/creative activities and workshops that could also have themes about ecology and sustainable living (here is a small list of possibilities: write and read poetry, draw and paint, knit and embroider, carve wood, play a musical instrument, sing, dance, rap, story-telling (collecting local histories), create theater skits and scenarios, create short documentaries, develop local photography, etc.)
- Breaking the bread: break the divisions between professions and isolated local organizations, as people from diverse professions and age groups get used to regular art and weekend outdoor activities beyond the bread-making
FACTORS IN SUSTAINABILITY
Tips for continuity in community programs and local voluntary engagement
- Shifting the time-bound project thinking: Project to Program Shift
- Shifting the money-based project limitations: Assess your local assets, not problems, as a proven “asset-based development approach” in positive psychology
- Shifting the place-less (home-less) project activities: Strive to connect action to place (ex: regular activities at a community cultural center), creating meaning and belonging to a place through Em-placed Programs
- Shifting the outcome-based emphasis in project thinking to a sensitivity to the process how social relations evolve toward shared goals
- Bread is universally present and loved around the world (even rice and corn-based cultures have rice and corn breads), consumed by people without division of economic status, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, education,etc: therefore, bread is a universal experience and a universal language to unite and educate
- Can be made by anyone, from child to grandparent, and is at the same time the most entertaining cooking activity
- When people share food, they are very much likely to establish peace and cooperation
- Creating, not passively consuming, bread and art inspires the confidence that there are creative solutions to any problem, and that problems are not as grave as imagined
- Tactile and taste experiences (bread-making stimulates all five senses!) develop particular parts of the brain, as studied by psychologists, which makes one perceive the world differently and ask deeper, critical questions: “Where does food come from and why? How do I treat my body, and what other food – intellectual and spiritual – do I need for a meaningful life?”
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.