The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

WFO coop or bread club?

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taramacon's picture
taramacon

WFO coop or bread club?

I am almost done building my WFO, and can see that for my uses it will not get to live to it's full potential. so I was thinking about trying to get together a coop or bread club to use the oven like the village ovens of olden times. Has anyone tried this and if so what worked and what didn't? How do I get started and make contacts? I have a desire to be of service to my community and would like to meet others with thoughts along the same lines.

Tara Macon

1groovey's picture
1groovey

That is a very nice gesture I was thinking along the same lines!

 

My thinking was instead of giving out so much $$$ for welfare do a co op of bread and food with using the community land buildings and get the city to fund the project. They give aprox 1/3 of their budget to welfare recipients why not produce their own food!

Contacts are made everyday! Word of mouth...

Tell people in your community your intentions you will have people flocking to you. :)

taramacon's picture
taramacon

The basic Idea is to make bread for the community food pantry, but alas they are restricted to only food from a licensed kitchen. My thoughts were to get people together to not only bake the bread but also to have pre-sold what we are making to friends and family. Then give the profits to the pantry and only keep back enough to be able to do it again. I have looked into what it takes to get a license, and don't think I will ever be able to make what I am doing work. My outdoor kitchen is going to be a timber frame pavilion 12'X16' with a brick floor laid on sand. I think it would take a very open minded inspector to see their way to granting me the permit.  The word Bethlehem means " The House of Bread" , and Bethlehem is what I would like to call the project. I live in a town of about 30,000 about halfway down  I-5 in Oregon so If you are able and willing to help out let me know.

escargo's picture
escargo

While you can't make bread for the community food pantry, the pantry can give people flour that they could make into bread in your oven. Since bread is cheaper than flour, it costs the pantry less.

The hard part for a lot of people would be transportation to the oven.

The White Bear Lake United Methodist Church is the newest community oven in the Twin Cities: http://www.wblumc.org/subindex.asp?pageid=4&subid=3201

bagel_and_rye's picture
bagel_and_rye

Hi Tara,

That's a great idea. In what city are you and your wood-fired oven located? I am thinking, perhaps I'm connected with someone in your town, with whom I could connect you? In any case, it's worth a try. 

In addition to thefreshloaf.com, I have found that Twitter is a great way to network and find other bakers . . . also Facebook, the BYOB (Bake Your Own Bread) project at www.breadexperience.com, and Yeast Spotting.

Here in Chicago we run a not-for-profit bread club, which we started--precisely as you wrote--to be a service to the community, and to meet others who share our interests. If you would like to see how we do things, you are welcome to "observe" our group and borrow ideas that you like. Please go to our website and hit the "join us" button.

bagel_and_rye

Organizers of Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers  
Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers is a not-for-profit group whose mission is to support and inspire those actively baking yeasted bread at home. We meet in-person monthly to share our experiences and learn from one another. 
Follow us . . . Website     Twitter     Recaps of Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers events posted here
taramacon's picture
taramacon

Hi and thanks for the heads up I would very much like to have a look at your project and website. I live in Roseburg, Oregon. It is a small town of about 30,000, but has a local area population of maybe twice that amount, depending on what you call local. We are only a mile or so off of I-5 so north south travel would be easy.

So how many people do you have involved in your project? Chicago would have lots of needs to help others. Did you go through a  formal process to form your not-for-profit bread club? Tax forms and the whole thing or not? I guess I had not thought about all of that. Do you have insurance and the like? Wow I guess I was thinking of something a little more low key.

patricia hains's picture
patricia hains

How far are you from Olympia WA?  I have a wood fired oven and teach bread classes.  That is one way to give back to the community and it does not require any special type of licensing.  I also have tried to hook up with the CSAs in my area  I know someone in Bandon OR that might be a contact if that is not too far from you.  Good luck.  Sounds like a good project.

taramacon's picture
taramacon

Roseburg, Or. Is below Eugene, Or about another hour or so. I think on a good day we are about four hours maybe a little more from Olympia, Wa. We are about 200 miles south of Portland, Or. on I-5. Bandon is on the coast and maybe an hour and a half, but it is a very nice drive through the coast range. Do you get many that want to come to learn about your oven? I'm not sure I know what you are saying, what is CSAs? 

escargo's picture
escargo

I keep track of bread classes wherever I can find them. If you post notices of your classes on the web, I would be happy to link to them. Also, as a bread baking instructor myself, I would love to compare notes. This is the site I put together for my classes: http://spbc.info/allclasses/index.html

bagel_and_rye's picture
bagel_and_rye

Hi Tara,

I just sent out a tweet about this discussion and your efforts to form a community around your new wood-fired oven in Roseburg, OR. I also put a link to this discussion on the frontpage of the Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers. I hope these links help bakers in/around Roseburg get in touch with you.

Currently, we are 46 Chicago amateur bakers, + 4 out-of-town observers (who, like you, are considering developing bread clubs in their respective cities).

We are a young organization (4 months old today!), still very much growing and learning each day. From the outset, we have held ourselves to the standard of offering free and/or very low cost events (no more than the price of a cup of coffee) to fellow amateur bakers in our community. We have been fortunate to have the support of a number of local businesses, who provide us with space for our monthly meetings.

If you would like more information, you are always welcome to email me at j {at} designingmyday {dot} com.

bagel_and_rye

Organizers of Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers

  
Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers is a not-for-profit group whose mission is to support and inspire those actively baking yeasted bread at home. We meet in-person monthly to share our experiences and learn from one another. 

Follow us . . . Website     Twitter     Recaps of Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers events posted here

taramacon's picture
taramacon

Hello J {at}  ;-) 

I thank you for your efforts to help me get my project moving along in the right direction.  I have not done much locally to get the word out as the WFO site is still very much a construction mess. I have been gathering brick for the oven and also the floor from every place I could find. The oven is using up a bunch of them but there are still lots  of them around that need to be put down into the floor. I hope to get some photos loaded onto the WFO forum of the whole thing but I would rather make bread and work on the oven than mess around with the photos. It will all come together in time and I think with some help prove to be an asset to the people. I looked in on the CABBs web page and think it is well done I don't know anything about putting something like that together If the page is your handy-work you did a good job.

Taramacon

polo's picture
polo

..........David S. Cargo and the Saint Paul  Bread Club. He documents community ovens and if you cantact him he may have some good ideas for you.

http://spbc.info/index.html

I also think that it is a very nice idea and something I thought about when I built my oven also.

escargo's picture
escargo

The Saint Paul Bread Club has its own on-line forum (still needed to reach critical mass), but there are boards on it for community ovens and for starting bread clubs.

Certainly if you get something started, I can list it, which might drive some traffic to you.

I have offered to host pages for bread clubs that don't have their own web sites, although you can also do that for free on Facebook. (I found and joined one bread club there that I later discovered was in England.)

escargo's picture
escargo

It's been over a year since this discussion started. I have created a map of community ovens in the US on my page of community oven links: http://spbc.info/quest/community_links.html

I also mention them on my blog when I hear about them: http://questforovens.blogspot.com/

I was interviewed for a piece on the Los Angeles Community Oven broadcast on radio station KCRW.

There has been growing interest in community ovens, but it's always hard to find them if they don't make the effort to publicize themselves.

The manager for the community oven in Elora, Ontario - http://www.kippelora.com/ - was trying to see if there was a way for the organizers of different community ovens to get together and share accumulated wisdom.