Communal Bakery Takes Payments of Cash, Time or Gratitude

One bread co-op decides that even if you don't have the funds, you have a right to eat.

Durham-based Bread Uprising Feeds Its Members Even if They Can't Pay
Durham-based 'Bread Uprising' feeds its own no matter what. (Photo: Kevin van der Leek/Getty Images)
A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades has previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and a medical writer.

With the U.S. suffering through a drought that’s obliterating crops nationwide, it’s not difficult to see why food prices are rising at an alarming rate. The World Bank reports that in just a single month this summer, the prices of wheat and corn alone jumped 25 percent. It’s  a scary vision, when you’re counting pennies to see basics like bread increase that drastically from day to day. But one Southern bakery is providing salvation by rebelling against the usual system of mass-manufactured food.

Bread Uprising isn't your average bakery.  It's a bread-based co-op. According to the Durham Herald-Sun, the program operates out of three members’ home kitchens. Grist reports its subscribers are granted a say in how the organization is run, and those who have limited access to food get priority membership. Most importantly, subscribers pay what they can, in whatever ways they can. 

That means members can use food stamps to pay for ingredients that they take home to bake themselves; they can pay for baked bread products with their personal time, volunteering for extra hours of work like clean up or delivery; or they can use actual currency, in an amount that works for their own budget.

Tim Stallman, a baker for Bread Uprising, tells Grist, “Some people have a lot of money and no time; some have a lot of time and no money; and some have neither. There are a lot of ways for individual people to plug in based on whatever their time or talents are.”

But in addition, Bread Uprising also holds bi-annual "bread assemblies" where the members come together for a big potluck, and discuss socio-economic and political issues surrounding food. 

Many find the organization is a welcome departure from normal for-profit frameworks that are the food industry norm . According to its website, Bread Uprising operates on the fundamental beliefs that no one should go without high-quality and delicious food, and no one should question every citizen’s entitlement to this fundamental part of our lives. 

Stallman says,  “When we started, it was [about] looking for ways to keep money within the community, and start to put ourselves out of the loop of the mass manufacturer.”

The organization has reportedly created tighter bonds within its membership, leading the group to come up with similar ideas they hope to start, like a car repair co-op. Bread Uprising member, Emily Chavez, explained that it’s all about finding ways to help each other without leaning so heavily on monetary resources.

According to the Durham Herald Sun, the community group is now planning to expand its enterprise, raising money through indiegogo in order to finally rent a dedicated store-front.

If you had access to a group like Bread Uprising, would you participate?  Let us know how you feel about community-based organizations like this one in the Comments.

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