Bakery and cookery school Loaf is a worker co-op that aims to promote real bread and cookery skills – and build community through food.
Based in Stirchley, south Birmingham, the co-operative offers cookery courses, a community bakery and pop-up events, while aiming to help restore the local high street. It was founded in 2009 and became a worker co-op in 2014.
“The industrial revolution and agro-business changed our food forever, especially bread, reducing the nourishment we get from an essential staple,” says Nancy. “We’re part of a movement reclaiming bread and building it back up on values and quality, and trying to make good bread more widely accessible”.
Loaf’s cookery school has been closed during the Covid-19 pandemic but the team has still been baking bread and pastries – and donating thousands of loaves to those most in need.
Loaf’s members actively bake extra to donate to food banks, charities and community groups, including city-wide surplus food re-distributor, Incredible Surplus. They even bake bread when closed to ensure there’s sufficient supply to send out.
And their donations to The Active Wellbeing Society have enabled local people living in temporary accommodation to enjoy quality bread when access to fresh produce has been limited.
They’re proud to be a workers’ co-operative too.
“During the pandemic, we’ve adapted our activities and we’ve been working in solidarity with other co-operatives, hopefully helping to make a positive difference to people’s lives – particularly those who have been really struggling during the crisis.”