Real Bread Campaign stimulates conversation among Black bakers

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

The Real Bread Campaign is exploring the unique challenges facing Black bakery owners and workers. Pic: GettyImages4x6
The Real Bread Campaign is exploring the unique challenges facing Black bakery owners and workers. Pic: GettyImages4x6

Related tags Real bread campaign Black people diversity, equity and inclusion microbakery artisanal bakeries

To celebrate Black History Month, the campaigner is hosting the ‘No all real bread is white’ webinar to give the microbakery sector the chance to hear from Black owners/workers of Real Bread businesses.

The open-to-all event is designed as a springboard to stimulate conversation about the Real Bread movement, but also specifically to brainstorm ways to help more Black business owners to get involved and be heard.

Run by the Campaign in association with Sustain’s job site, Roots to Work, the conversation will centre on people of every colour and their heritage instilled in making Real Bread.

Why is this diversity not as well reflected as it should be – both in the Campaign’s network and the wider movement in the UK? What are the opportunities and the barriers?

A world for all bread lovers

Black woman and white man eating bread Ridofranz
Pic: GettyImages

According to Real Bread Campaign coordinator Chris Young, the event is part of an ongoing process of exploring and improving diversity (in all senses), equity and inclusion in the Campaign’s work.

Its DEI statement notes striving to “give everyone having the chance to choose Real Bread. We also invite everyone who's interested to be included in our work and world but recognise that there are people missing from the party. Our activity and this statement will evolve over time and we welcome your input in helping us to shape both.”

Hosted by Real Bread Campaign ambassadors Aba Edwards-Edun and Marcia Harris, the panel includes Zakiya Andrews and Nzinga Foster-Brown of Handsworth-based Blackbirds’ Micro Bakery, Leo Maxlhaieie from Leo The Baker in Sevenoaks and Jackie Mckinson of London-based Aries Bakehouse

Dealing with the hard issues

Taking place on Monday, 7 November, the webinar will include a Q&A session, as well as an opportunity for the audience to share their own knowledge and experience of setting up, running or working in a Real Bread (micro)bakery.

Issues to be explored include both pros and cons, the empowerment of Black owners who want to be more active and vocal in the wider Real Bread movement, and how the Campaign can help.

  • Is there a perception that all Real Bread comes from a White/European baking tradition?
  • If so, what more can the Campaign do to raise awareness that its universally-inclusive definition encompasses additive-free bread of every baking heritage?
  • What can the Campaign (and wider movement) do to help more Black people involved in the rise of Real Bread get the recognition they deserve?
  • What extra obstacles do they face in starting their own business, along with career advancements?

“When working on diversity, equity and inclusion, there are few – if any – thing that 100% of people agree are right,”​ states the Campaign on its site.

“There will be things we will do or not do, say or not say, that will divide opinion. The same goes for the ways in which we take action and the terms/language we use. We will get things wrong but would rather do that, then try again, than let fear of messing up prevent us from acting at all.

“We are sorry if anything is not done the way that you feel is right or the best way - please let us know and we will take your views on board with the rest.”

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