From our roving correspondent, Lisa Wilson, director of Eventful Bread
From a graduate’s perspective, bread (real bread, that is...) is the ultimate food. Until I realised the benefits of eating real bread, our bread bin was stocked with sliced, supermarket bread. Learning to bake real bread was fantastic. I’ve learned a valuable skill for life and understand just how healthy eating real bread is. When sliced goes out the window, you discover a whole new loaf out there!
For university students and young people alike, baking real bread is a wonderful way to break up those long tedious days of essays and coursework. It is not only a creative outlet, but a great way of feeding yourself, your friends and your housemates - on a budget (cost for 500 g loaf of home made real bread is about 50 pence). It is also really good for us whereas a lot of modern (non real) bread is on the road to nutritional nowhere. Real bread is full of vitamin B which both brain and liver boosting (helps with hangovers!), and all that therapeutic kneading is perfect for pre-exam stress relief.
Baking real bread is fun and, when doing it in a group, it is sociable and thus useful for group revision sessions. It’s amazing how you can build community around a simple thing: People love coming together and bread is a means for social interaction and having a good time.
Learning crafts and skills enables us to contribute to society and helps us connect to it. With the help of an O2 Think Big Grant, we organised a bread baking event for students and young people of Leicestershire to come and learn to bake real bread. The ‘Beer and Loaf link up’, with Leicester University was held it at the lovely Baker's Arms Pub. It was a bread baking workshop for students to come and learn a life skill and try something new with a focus on:
· Learning how to feed yourself well and on a budget
· Understanding the health benefits of eating good bread
· Using up leftovers
· Having a creative outlet from study
· Learning the impacts on the environment
· Figuring out how to earn a 'crust' whilst studying
Sociology, Law, Nursing and PGCE students all got involved and left inspired. Some students had never thought about baking their own bread from scratch before, and have vowed never to return to mass produced bread. We learned how to make a basic wheat loaf, soda bread and a basic rye loaf, and they all looked and tasted divine.
Bread is certainly a way to connect people and is the ultimate sustainable food. Since January, Eventful Bread has set up links with The University of Leicester, a residential home for the elderly, individuals and Bread Angels, community groups and local businesses within Leicester. We have delivered bread baking workshops to a variety of community groups throughout Leicester and have organised a community bake off. I have been on the radio twice and have attracted local media attention with BBC Radio Leicester and East Midlands Today. All in two months, and this is thanks to the O2 Think Big Project start up grant. We have developed a community engagement program template that can be replicated at any University, residential home pub or community space throughout Leicestershire and beyond. We are now ‘thinking bigger’ and wanting to take Eventful Bread further, and we have inquiries coming in from all over Europe. People want to bake bread with us and participate in a Youth Exchange with The British Council. The skies the limit and who knows what this year will hold.
Since graduating last year, Lisa Wilson combines what she loves – planning events, baking bread, and running community engagement projects. This is how Eventful Bread was born.