This week we say hello to another one of our lovely bakers, and members, Keren. You can follow Keren’s adventures during lockdown throughout this week over on our instagram!
We are also excited to start a charity bake this week, run by volunteers from Leeds Bread Co-op and supported by generous donations from our friends at Yorkshire Organic Millers and Grands Moulin De Paris, that will allow us to donate loaves to some of the most vulnerable in our local communities through the food package scheme* being managed through Leeds City Council. We will be launching a fundraiser next week to support our charity baking, so if you are interested in supporting us please do keep an eye out for more details!
*If you are struggling to access food, or think you know someone who might need a food parcel delivered, you can find more information about referrals to the food package scheme and other help available on the Leeds City Council website here.
“I made the final transition from creative producer in the performing arts to baker in February 2018 when I started at LBC. I absolutely love making LOTS of beautiful sourdough bread (1 or 2 loaves at a time just doesn’t do it for me as you will see!), from ingredients that come from growers and millers we know and have relationships with, and sharing that bread with a wide range of people.
I took the job because I wanted to do it professionally and also because I really wanted to know what it was to be part of a workers co-operative. I had most recently come from living in communities, some activist, some not, a few attempting to incorporate co-operative values, but had never worked in a workers co-op.
When I first arrived I was struck often by the beauty of watching my colleagues working with their hands. Knowing instinctively the round-about-weight of a piece of dough, conducting themselves in a rhythm and pace around the bakery, the choreography of shaping a loaf and scoring fifteen loaves of bread in seconds before dancing them into the oven! I still occasionally give pause to watching when I definitely should be doing! And of course now my hands have learnt many of the same things (although everyone has their own ways!)
If you had told me then that in two years I would be a director of the business, sharing collectively with the other members in making decisions about how to exist in a world struck with a pandemic, trying to support the structure of the organisation and keep it afloat whilst also volunteering to bake as much bread as possible for vulnerable people in Leeds and trying not to endanger others catching the virus, I would have shot you a look of disbelief.
However, much as I would wish this virus a thing of the imagination, I am so deeply grateful for the experience of working as a cooperative. I often think of all the many small business owners out there who are having to make these enormous decisions to close, furlough all their employees, re-open, completely change business plan, etc. on their own, without a trusted group of coworkers to bounce ideas around with and share responsibility for.
This week we will start our first week of baking for charity and I hope as I start my week of social media takeover on instagram that I can share my personal experience of volunteering along with some snippets of what life on lockdown is like in my neck of the woods!”