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Sibyl Leon, Founder of BREAD Encounters (US Non-Profit), San Diego, California
“I am originally from Stuttgart, Germany, but have been living in the US for most of my adult life. Bread making and sharing my passion for bread has been part of life for a long time: from teaching cub scouts how to make bread-in-a-bag to leading classes for faith based women’s groups. I eventually realized that I could turn foes into friends by sharing my love for bread making either through passing on the gift of knowledge or the gift of a loaf of bread.
But it wasn’t until a few years ago when I came across a TEDTalk by Nadezhda Savova-Gregova that I realized the positive impact and power bread can have on a much wider audience than just the people around me. Nadezhda’s talk really was the vehicle that started me on my non-profit journey, although it took another 3 years to come to fruition. I founded BREAD Encounters along with my son Cody who shares my views on bread and kindness. BREAD Encounters mission is “to inspire kindness and create human connection by engaging the community to bake bread for those in need as well as drive positive social change through unique bread making activities which nurture inclusion and creativity in communities.
Click on the link to read about one of our recent community bread baking events described on our blog.
It had been my wish to be able to meet Nadezhda in person this year (2020) in Sofia. It had taken a lot of personal sacrifice to get to this point of making this happen but then, of course, COVID-19 happened and changed everyone’s lives. Luckily, Cody and I were the first ones to be given the opportunity of going through the Bread Therapy training course on-line and while I did not get to meet Nadezhda in person, it was an absolute delight to meet my bread spirit sister online!
BREAD Encounters is currently working on a partnership with a local transitional housing center in San Diego which provides housing to those who are struggling and help in restoring their lives. We are very excited about this, as it gives us the opportunity to incorporate both sides of BREAD Encounters’ vision by feeding those in need but also train a few of the residents in baking bread, while applying the Theater of Crumbs method with children, and other groups residing at the center.”
Ibrahim Abu-Helil and Alex, Founders of JIA Bakery and Bread Therapy Program, Amman, Jordan
Ibrahim and his wife Alex (from Ukraine) founded the unique JIA bakery/pizza place with Bread Therapy program in Amman, Jordan, in 2020. Here is how Ibrahim defines himself: “As a newly baker-owner of a healthy eating Bakery, together with my background in sociology (Jordan University) and in Euro-MENA Public social policy development (London School of Economics in the UK), as an analyst and a researcher (Euro-Arab Management School/EAMS in Granada-Spain), I am enthusiastic and excited to cooperate with the Bread Houses Network, to spread Bread Therapy in the Middle East, to document the world of bread and baking in Jordan and MENA region countries from anthropological, sociological, environmental, therapeutically, nutritionally, economically, health and peace wise.”
Ken Amy, Founder of Shirley Home of Bread, Southampton, UK
Ken Amy is a passionate ChangeBaker in spirit, wishing to bring crumbs of joy and change to his community by creating a cozy, welcoming place to make everyone feel at home! He is currently undergoing a training in social entrepreneurship, developing an elaborate business plan for his vision of the “Shirley Home of Bread”. This is how Ken describes himself:
“I’m a novice bread maker and improbable social entrepreneur, who is seeking to establish a Bread House here in Southampton U.K. to be called ‘Shirley Home of Bread’. I have a passion and vision – in partnership with others, to bring to fruition a flourishing local community that embodies equality, diversity, and inclusion. I perceive that bread as a cultural artifact is capable of reshaping our imaginations, and can positively transform the boundaries of possibility and impossibility for the most disadvantaged and marginalized in our self-seeking society! I’m convinced that the simple – yet profound process of making, baking, and breaking bread together can realize greater empathy, integration, and collaboration between diverse ethnic groups and initiate innovative human connection.”
Hayoung Oh, Public Health Expert and Harvard Human Flourishing Program Research Assistant, Ann Harbor, USA
Hayoung is a recent Master of Public Health graduate from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is currently a research assistant on the topic of moral injury in the Harvard Human Flourishing Program. His research focuses on vulnerable populations such as those experiencing homelessness, substance abuse, and racial/ethnic minorities. He enjoys all things fermentation, especially sourdough. Hayoung believes that food is the key to remembering who/what/why/when we are. After being trained in Bread Therapy in the summer of 2022, Hayoung hopes to utilize Bread Therapy to help vulnerable populations better understand themselves and the world around them.
ROSWITHA HUBER, AUSTRIA
An exemplary “Baker without Borders” is Roswitha Huber and her Baking School in the Mountain, high up in the Austrian Alps close to Salzburg. Roswitha has traveled across the globe, from Europe to Africa, to bake with local people and help communities develop their own local baking programs, such as a community oven operated by women in a small village in Madagascar.
ROSSI ANASTOPOULO, USA
Another “Baker without Borders” is Rossi Anastopoulo from South Carolina, USA. An avid baker, Rossi spent summer 2014 interning at the Bread House in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, and plans to use the experience and knowledge she gained to begin a Bread House program at her university in North Carolina to unite various groups throughout the community and inspire the use of bread as a tool for social development. She also runs a healthy baking blog called A Baking Girl (www.abakinggirl.com). If you want to know more about her experience, Bakers without Borders, or anything else, feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
ÅSMUND BJØRNSTAD, NORWAY
Åsmund Bjørnstad (b. 1951), professor of plant breeding in the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and a writer. My research is currently most concerned with making varieties in wheat and oats resistant to fungi producing mycotoxins, and participatory methods of involving Ethiopian farmers as partners in selection of new barley varieties. I have also written a book on the biological and social history of bread and cereals, Our Daily Bread (Oslo, 2012). In addition to scientific papers I have also published own and translated poetry. My fascination about the Bread House movement is how you develop the ancient art of baking and sharing of bread as a way of creating social bonds today.
EVA BAKKESLETT, NORWAY
Eva Bakkeslett is an artist and bread maker from North Norway. As a child she learnt the art of baking from her grandmother and has since incorporated baking into her arts practice. She created the “The Companion Festival of Bread” in Devon, baked her MA thesis into a loaf of bread and has held many workshops and baking events in the UK, Norway, Bulgaria and beyond. Eva has also made several films about the aesthetics of baking bread that have won awards and been shown worldwide mincluding MoMa, New York.
ALBERT SMITH, UNITED KINGDOM
My name is Albert Smith and I am a baker based in Birmingham United Kingdom. I was was taught to bake bread by my grandfather in South Africa. I am a trained nurse, a comedian and performer and a community developer. My bakery is called Ubuntu Handmade Bread. It was started as a means to help me recover from a serious depressive illness. I love sharing bread making with others and use bread to work with children, adults and many people with special needs. I would love to establish a bread house in Birmingham and South Africa. I believe the current situation in South Africa is ready for bread to be used as a tool to empower the people especially in Johannesburg. I would love to return to South Africa to work there. I use bread as a performance tool and performed my show to many people in different settings. I never thought bread would become my life as it is. I enjoy the freedom and creativity bread baking gives me.
SUE BEVERIDGE, SCOTLAND
Sue is a pharmacist and socially engaged artist who lives in the Highlands of Scotland near Inverness. Sue is a “Baker Without Borders”, trained in our methods, and currently working with dementia patients.
“I have worked in bread and dough for several years as a cathartic means of self-expression. I am presently doing an MA at Dundee Art College. I would love to establish bread dough play as a type of art therapy and am currently exploring this working with community groups and one to one sessions.”
MOLLY REEDER, USA
Molly Reeder is a baker and visual artist originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. She has been baking, Illustrating and living New Zealand for the last few years. Molly learned her craft of baking and pastry by working in various artisan bakeries and cafes in Australia, the United States and New Zealand. She also has worked as a Steiner school teacher and has a great joy in working with children. Her passion for baking came from growing up in a family of talented cooks. She hopes to learn more about how the making of bread can be used as a creative means for social and community change through volunteering at the bread house in Sofia, Bulgaria this summer.
IAN POPE, USA
Ian Pope is a baker and environmental scientist from the United States. Growing up, Ian enjoyed cooking, baking, and gardening with his family. Ian spent several years studying deforestation and food security in Q’eqchi’ Maya communities in the Central Highlands of Guatemala for his M.S. thesis., where he coordinated with Community Cloud Forest Conservation, a conservation-focused NGO. Having always loved baking desserts, Ian decided to expand his interest into bread, which served as a grounding, relaxing, and rewarding activity for him. He is currently working at the San Francisco Baking Institute as a pastry cook and baker for the institute’s bakery, Thoroughbread and Pastry. He loves baking whole grain sourdoughs and breads with ancient grains.
SIMON GRAY, NEW ZEALAND
Artist Simon Gray has worked with a diverse range of people and communities over the past 25 years. Central to his practice is a creative, collaborative and inclusive approach. The input from participants is crucial to the work and provides opportunities for them to use and explore their own creativity to strengthen community resolve and resilience. This philosophy will continue in his latest project ‘Bread Makers of Porirua, Unite!’, which brings together his creative practice, with his love of bread making.
HELGA AND GÜNTER FELLINGER, AUSTRIA
Helga and Günter Fellinger from upper Austria in the „Salzkammergut”, (www.lebens-kunst-fellinger.at) give courses in baking your own bread with sour dough in the wood-oven. Günter constructed the oven in their garden with clay and motivates interested people to just built their own oven.
Both work as coaches and “Life-Artists” and help people to find out what they really want to do and what makes them happy. So, Helga found out, that bread baking “touches” everybody and gives new inspiration and happiness. “With our bread” we also get in touch with many people by changing goods – our bread for: fish, honey, wood for the heating, etc. Helga will do now (inspired from Nadezhda) the “Crumb Theater” for groups and companies.
CHERRY CHEUNG, HONG KONG
I am a recent Sustainable Development MA graduate who loves the creativity and inclusivity of Bakers without Borders. From my travels and studies I am interested in the stories that the food we eat tell and exploring ways of making them more sustainable.
TORSTEN GÖRG, GERMANY
Permaculture Designer, Amateur Baker and Social Entrepreneur
Torsten is an enthusiastic amateur baker from Dresden. He studies Permaculture Design, works as an educator for sustainability and is co-founder of the association “BewusstSinn e.V.”. His current project “Kornkreise Dresden” is an entrepreneurial initiative for “Bakers without Borders” in Germany.
ADAM MAJEWSKI, MINNEAPOLIS, USA
Bakery owner and community activist
Hi I’m Adam, I’m a Pastry Chef at the Wedge Co-op and owner of Majestic Chef Bakery based here in Minneapolis, MN USA. I started baking at 9-years old when my Godmother introduced me to food as an extracurricular activity, and I’ve been hooked since. Growing up here in Minneapolis, in a family where great stock is put into the belief, if you have the means necessary to help those in need, you in turn have the obligation to help those in need without expectation of reward in return. This belief is what drives most of my baking, for the Betterment of humanity both locally and globally, which has brought me to Bakers Without Borders to be an active force for positivity social change. I’m now working to bring Bakers Without Borders to the Twin Cities/Minneapolis area, by using baking and bringing its many artisans, I hope to help encourage positive community and social changes which builds and strengthens communities, instead of weakening and breaking them down.
Here in Minneapolis we’ve earned the name of Little Mogadishu, Somali capital of America, and with today’s divisions which have caused many to drift apart the need for breaking bread together, especially here in a place where immigration has always been a big part of the local culture, is needed much more these days to help keep the bonds of friendship connected. The two major, social activities here in Minnesota, which are largely participated in, are sports and most importantly food, and being the second largest agricultural state in America makes this quite understandable. With food being such an important part of the local culture, many food professionals here feel it is part of their life’s career to insure that everyone is fed, though there are many who still go hungry on a regular bases, most keep coming back to feed more people today than yesterday, no matter if they can pay or not.
BARBARA WERTEKER, AUSTRIA
Barbara is a passionate baker and psychologist from Vienna, Austria. Convinced that artisan baking brings people together and has nutritious advantages, she spent some month in Kenya to bake in communities near Kisumu. She wanted to give the locals the possibility to produce their own healthy breads and cakes as well as economic opportunities. In June 2017 she visited the Bread House in Sofia to participate in a training on the Bread House methods. Barbara has already baked with youth groups and is now including these methods. Always open for new recipes and projects, she is curious to bake with different people to give them a way to express themselves, come together, communicate, learn how to bake or simply have fun. To get in touch with her, feel free to contact her at: email@example.com
LUDMILA HORNAKOVA, SLOVAKIA
L’udmila Horňáková is an artist, mentor and dramatist working with communities from different backgrounds, social statuses, and countries. She utilizes elements of trust, creativity, art, baking, and elements of food in order to show, enjoy, and explore the power of creative art as a strong tool for change in society. She is currently working toward the development and empowerment of the communities of Slovakia and Košice ( www.vymenniky.sk).
L’udmila has experience creating and learning internationally – a recent example is a residency, which gave her the experience to learn and create unique projects in the Czech Republic, Netherlands, and Ukraine. Similarly, with the training she received in Sofia she has begun exploring bread therapy techniques and tools that she will utilize in the future. Most notably, she plans to mix bread-making with art in order to empower citizens.
In her life she enjoys sharing food, communities, art, using different senses, playfully exploring, making mistakes, and building trust. According to L’udmila, it is important in life to, “start, make mistakes, enjoy it with others, and experiment”!
JAQUELINE IMBRIANI, BRAZIL
Jaqueline Imbriani, is a psychologist and an enthusiast baker, falling in love for the natural fermentation method since 2016. Learned by herself and now bakes for her community in her house, offering bread weekly to the customers that pre ordered the product. She plans to travel through Europe, Middle East and join Bread Houses Network for some time in 2018, so she learn our methods and improve social initiatives in Brazil when she will open the school-bakery in 2019. She also runs a blog, where she talks about the synergies between slow fermentation and life.
MARTIN KALAMKOVIC, SERBIA
My name is Martin Kalamkovic. I live in Novi Sad, Serbia. I work as a professor and multimedia manager in school for children with special needs. I have a lot of experience in international cooperation (Erasmus, British Council, eTwinning, IPA). Being in the Bread house in Sofia was a wonderful experience. I am opened to all kinds of cooperation.
Here is what Morgan shared about her experience with the Bread Houses Network (BHN) and its methods: “The BHN is such an innovative space with very useful methods that I think hold power for community building and development and locally-specific creative solutions to local issues/challenges. The ‘Bread-in-the-Dark’ method is the one that interested me the most when I first heard about it, because I had never thought much about such an idea. Once I spoke to people about it at the bread house I realized how important those kinds of practices are for bridging gaps between societal groups.”
PETIA KANEVA, AUSTRIA
Petia is an interior & product design, mentor and business developer based in the Austrian Alps close to Bregenz. Enthusiast baker inspired by her grandma and looking for the connection between art & tradition & development and always dynamic, she is keen on exploring art and crafts with warmth of hands – baking, clay, paper & urban botanic. She utilizes elements of creativity, art, baking and elements of food in order to show and explore the power of creative art as a strong method for development of children.
She has been actively engaged in different social projects over years focused on the children education in Africa, Germany Austria and Bulgaria and paying attention on the Emotional Intelligence Education & Career Development.
She believes making art is always the most primitive way of communication and to express yourself, come together, communicate, learn how to bake or simply have fun. Bake.Learn.Grow.
To get in touch with her, feel free to contact her: www.pk-interiordesign.com
GERGANA HRISTOVA, ITALY
Gergana is the founder of the Bulgarian School in Milan, Italy. With education in Bulgarian philology, her work is related to teaching Bulgarian language, literature and culture. As a cultural symbol with deep meaning, bread is more than just food for Gergana. “Like all good things bread is seemingly simple and can be found anywhere. The aroma of freshly baked bread brings us back to our childhood, makes us feel at home everywhere, but it also helps us discover the truly meaningful things in life,” says Gergana. She heard about the Bread Houses Network (BHN) for the first time while she was doing a study of Bulgaria’s contemporary inspiring initiatives and discovered that the Bread Houses Network had received nomination for Bulgaria’s 2017 Inspiring Initiative. Gergana shares that her training in the BHN methods was interesting and enriching. She is happy to have met the members of the Sofia Bread House team and been inspired by the love and dedication of the BHN towards people, bread, and the world. Gergana is looking forward to discovering how she will be integrating the BHN methods in her work. Welcome to our family of Bakers Without Borders, Gergana!