14 Jul 2008

Slow Sunday: make bread on 27th to save planet

I love this initiative from Resurgence Magazine - some of us here in Bread Street, Ruscombe will definitely be participating in this day....Years ago I was very upset by Sunday trading arriving and even sadder I find myself on occasion shopping on Sundays - the idea of Slow Sundays is very appealing! Indeed I've talked before on this blog about Sundays - see also the campaign page from Keep Sunday Special where you can sign their petition - Read on...

Photo: Some of the breads at the recent Bread Making competition at the Bread Street street party.

Bake Bread – save the planet

On July 27th the first Resurgence Slow Sunday will be launched. Every two months they will nominate one Sunday where they will ask people to take part in simple actions that symbolise a rejection of commercialism, a passion for the planet, a desire for change and a move towards a more sustainable future. There will be a different action each time. Here is what they write:

The idea of a Slow Sunday is to focus on the choices we, as consumers and individuals, make every day of our lives, that can make a difference to the current ecological climate. In our own recent past, Sunday was a day of rest, a day of reflection. Let’s also make it a day where we consume less, reduce our food miles and our carbon footprint. Let’s also make it a day when we engage with our local community. This is where small, simple actions can make a significant difference to our immediate environment and actively address global warming.

So on July 27th 2008, we are asking people to engage in the simple action of baking bread for themselves, their friends and their neighbours. But what’s baking bread got to do with saving the planet?

The Resurgence Slow Sunday is inspired by two of two of the most profound philosophies of our time – Schumacher’s ‘Small is beautiful’ and Gandhi’s ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’. We believe that big change is possible though small, meaningful actions at a local level. It is only by changing our immediate environment that we can pave the way for change on a larger scale. In other words, we can make the world a better place, but it will only happen when large numbers of people join together and practice what they believe in. And, in the same way that Gandhi made spinning an act of defiance against oppressive colonialism, for the first Resurgence Slow Sunday we are asking consumers to make good, healthy home-baked bread a symbol of environmentalism.

Three reasons why baking bread is a seemingly small step, with potentially enormous environmental consequences:

· Only 4% of bread is baked in small, neighbourhood bakeries. And almost 90% of bread is mass-produced in factory conditions. Thirteen big manufacturers control bread market in theUKwhich accounts for £3 billion a year. Nearly ten million loaves of bread are sold in theUKevery day; their daily delivery clocking up an enormous carbon footprint. This is bread is full of enzyme-based ‘processing aids’ that by law don’t have to appear on the label.

· Bread diversity is a symbol of biocultural diversity. Regional varieties represented grain diversity as well as diversity of style. At one time, this bread was available on your doorstep from your local baker.

· Baking bread is an act of meditation. Through this simple action we are able to slow down, pay attention and reconnect with tradition. It is something to share and to celebrate.

We also have the support of Andrew Whitley, founder of The Village Bakery and author of the book Bread Matters – the state of modern bread and a definitive guide to making your own. He has provided some background information for our campaign and a really simple, but delicious recipe for Resurgence Slow Sunday Baps. Go to www.resurgence.org

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