To empower people to optimise our staple food bread, for health, social equality and to reduce environmental damage.
Our work is about you understanding bread. When you really understand it, then reframing the way you bake, eat and share bread becomes about your values. We see the most incredible transformation, from individuals to multi-billion dollar corporations as meaningful, purposeful structured change that becomes purpose. We have been doing this for a long time and we have done our research, and there are thousands of our students all over the world who are already actively engaged with the systems change programme, and actively engaged with transforming social inequalities.
What we do.
Our job is to help you to develop an approach to bread for optimal nourishment, and we connect each part of the bread making system to the next. The approach is explicitly aimed at social, environmental and political change. We use our funds to share Baking As Lifestyle Medicine (BALM) with those who need to make nourishing bread most. We do this through our social prescribing programme that provides scholarships and bursaries to healthcare partitioners. We subsidise Sourdough Club membership, kits, and flour as social prescriptions for our graduates to prescribe to their patients as part of our vision to make Baking a Lifestyle Medicine accessible to all.
Why we do we need to change the way we approach bread?
The simple answer is that poor quality bread exacerbates social injustice. The reasons for this are complex, but the current food system is broken at multiple levels, from the pesticides used in our soils to the emulsifiers and additives adulterating industrially-processed foods now being 60% of the calories we eat. Cheap refined carbohydrates are associated with higher rates of mortality and non-communicable illness. There are anti-nutritional components throughout every part of the bread making process, from pesticides, and herbicides, linked to cancer and used on our grain, to emulsifiers used as bread improvers and yet linked to gut damage. Lack of fibre is also certainly a key factor in reducing nutritional value. In the UK 99% of people buy bread and over 70% is refined white industrial bread. This approach to our staple food is deeply flawed and exacerbates social injustice. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the bread we eat.
It doesn’t have to be this way
If you are reading this then you are invited to be the change. These are many ways that we can change the way we approach bread. From the domestic baker feeding their family, actively baking as lifestyle medicine and preventative health, to artisan bakers who are right in the centre of their community actively engaging in their community, forming direct relationships with farmers, and challenging power asymmetries in the food system, to the large scale bread producers and related suppliers or sandwiches and store baked goods.
“Our role is to support, inspire, research, educate and communicate all of the people involved in the system to optimise our staple food for social equality and reduce environmental damage.”
We are a community, and we have been working alongside some of the world’s leading experts for many years, from artisan bakers, wheat breeders, millers, soil scientists, farmers, doctors, to sourdough microbiologists, there are people from many disciplines who share our vision to improve our staple food for social equality, and support the farmers who farm regeneratively.
A structured evidence based protocol is our framework for change
Our protocol is evidence based. The BALM Protocol provides a framework path forward explicitly aimed at social and political change in the way we approach bread and baked goods. Part of our programme empowers healthcare practitioners to prescribe baking as lifestyle medicine – the protocol is grounded in the 6 pillars of Lifestyle Medicine, and is known as Baking as Lifestyle medicine (BALM) Protocol. Comprising seven principles and reflecting over 20 years of research, our BALM Protocol is built upon the six pillars of lifestyle medicine and guides everything we do here at the school. This is holistic, person-centred branch of medicine that seeks to prevent, manage and reverse lifestyle diseases by tackling the root lifestyle choices behind their development. Collectively, the pillar are known as the six pillars of lifestyle medicine, a key part of the “Lifestyle Medicine Principles” as laid out by the British Society Of Lifestyle Medicine