Regenerative Bakery Needs Generous Help

by Maisie Collins in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

Total raised £17,838

raised so far

114

supporters

Our working day-to-day model is as a bakery and eatery; our purpose is within social, industrial and agricultural regeneration.

by Maisie Collins in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 16th May 2022 we'd raised £15,208 with 103 supporters in 32 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

Expand our reach and equipment, enabling us to offer further training and employment opportunities.

It also make us less reliant on grants in the early days of business.


About Hearth

Hearth is a new social enterprise bakery in Hackney Wick with values deep-rooted in social, industrial and agricultural regeneration.

We've raised some funds already, with future grant applications in the pipeline, but to get us off the ground and into service we need additional investment.

Our working day-to-day model is as a bakery and eatery; supplying baked goods and savouries to retail and wholesale customers in Hackney Wick & beyond.

All of the founding staff are from a hospitality background with a united goal to change how the industry operates and the subsequent impact it has both socially and environmentally.

We are taking agroecological principles and applying them to the way we work. In short, we're acknowledging the relationship between our food and it's surrounding components: people, plants, animals and the environment. What are these relationships, what is our impact and how can it be improved upon.

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Our Social Aims

It was important from the start that we set out on this journey as a social enterprise, not only to create a set guideline for our work but also to offer total transparency in what we are doing and measurable impact.

In a post-Covid and post-Brexit world, we are trying rebuild from the ground up to create working models for our industry and beyond.

Social Regeneration

As a business we feel responsible for our community as much as we are a part of it. 

We are entering into a space not to profit off local pockets but to feed back into and support our neighbours.

It is important that we are able to support and not to disrupt our existing communities in the face of an ever-gentrifying city. 

Our working model will look at both existing and incoming communities in our surrounding boroughs of Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham.

We want to ensure that the places where people live, now and in the future, create new opportunities, promote wellbeing and reduce inequalities so that people have better lives, work as strong community, and ultimately achieve their potential.

We will be doing this through:

  • Two paid 6-12 month traineeships for young unemployed people per year within our bakery
  • Opening small satellite retail sites in our neighbouring boroughs, starting this autumn with a Tower Hamlets site, to act as local community hubs and shops, operated and run by long-term unemployed people
  • The People's Oven: Based on the idea of medieval hearth's in rural France, this is a monthly bake session for home bakers and enthusiasts to try out their loaves in a professional setting. This will be with one of our bakers who will then offer oven training, feedback and advice.  The session will be for a fee to cover costs but we will also have some pay as you can option for people on lower incomes.
  • The People's Plate: Monthly pay as you can meals with social themes such as mental health or debt guidance
  • Organised community events in partnership with other local social groups and charities

Measurable impact:

  • Number of trainees and their next steps
  • Number of unemployed people now in work
  • Kilos of food diverted from waste through the peoples plate
  • Loaves baked at the peoples oven


Industrial Regeneration

As a group of hospitality professionals we have seen the good, the bad and ugly of our industry, and can all agree that there is a need for a change.

Hospitality is an ageing industry with one of the lowest uptakes in full time permanent staff and in the post-brexit/post-covid landscape the industry is seeing immense staff shortages. Part of our aims as a social enterprise is not only to offer training and experience to young people entering the industry but to dig into what it is that is off putting about a career in hospitality.

Working off of our collective lists of 'what-not-to-do', we are structuring our entire business model around our most important asset, our staff.

As employers we are offering:

  • Living wage as a minimum wage
  • Paid half hour breaks, with optional half hour unpaid whenever needed
  • All full time staff are shareholders with annual returns*
  • Shareholding staff are entitled to a vote on company policies, future manifestos, invited to AGMs and hold all directors to account. In short, the boss of the boss is the staff as a collective.
  • No double shifts, no night shifts
  • 40 hour working week over 4 days
  • Cycle to work scheme, gym/wellness fund and industry discounts
  • Your own raised bed in growing space and free use of our garden, 10 minutes from the bakery
  • One week paid stagiaire a year in any industry
  • Training and development plans based on each individual, how can we get you to your dream role
  • Peer led appraisals so everyone's voice is hear
  • Risk assessments based on each individual. How do we make our space and jobs work best for you physically and mentally
  • Investment in your future in food**

*As a CIC we are legally only permitted to take a maximum of 35% of our profits for shares. This capped percentage is moved into our limited umbrella company, Lammas Fare Ltd, where the 30% is divided between all shareholders (our staff).

**The remaining 5% is kept in a high interest account for Lammas Fare. The idea is that this money collectively builds over time, eventually turning into a fund that we  will offer to our staff as a chance to pitch their own start-up within food.


Measurable impact:

  • Length of full time staff employment
  • Staff happiness, measured quarterly and reviewed
  • New sustainable food projects from our staff


Agricultural Regeneration

The agricultural sector is one of the leading causes of climate change and the hospitality sector is agriculture's more diversely polluting cousin.

The food, the land and how we use it; it's all an intertwined narrative that needs unpicking and looking at with fresh eyes. 

We're shown a limited amount of agriculture us inner-city folk, the most we can hope for at school age is a trip to the local city farm or a coach ride to the country. 

One of my favourite answers to the question 'where does milk comes from' I ever had when working on a city farm was 'Tesco'. 

We want to rebuild a lost connection between the food we cook with and the farmers and producers who grew it. In turn we want the farmers we support to pass it along the chain back to the ground that gave them the food.

Our suppliers will be people we know who take care of their land, their staff, their animals and themselves. We want fair good food to be for all, including those who grow it.

We ask our customers to vote with their pound and put their money towards products and companies that are impact led, this is the same mentality that we will apply to our sourcing.

Regenerative farms are working hard to reverse the impact of industrial scale farming but without financial and commercial support it won't be a viable option for the farmers themselves. We will endeavour to support them where we can.

Our kitchen:

  • Will only use produce from ethical, sustainable and regenerative sources 
  • Will offer our handy hands to our farmers during peak planting seasons 
  • Menus will be majority seasonal food
  • Responsibly forage when foraging
  • Maintain a circular food system
  • Imported foods through Crowdfarming and Sail Cargo
  • Closely vet our suppliers and ask questions to maintain high welfare and environmental standards

Measurable impact:

  • Food composted
  • Salad grown
  • Seasonal food used, in kilos and GBP

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Our Bakery

Building and Baking

We have been working on our spaces since March, with the structural work now largely completed we are moving on to the kitchen equipment, electrics and shopfitting. As standard with any build, we've had a few bumps and delays along the way but still on track to be operational in May.

Our first month of service we will be operating as a 'scratch kitchen' where we are open to the public but have slightly reduced costs while we test out our new kit and recipes, in exchange we humbly ask for feedback and suggestions.

Area

Our bakery is based within Grow Studios, a fellow sustainable and ethical business, in an undeveloped corner of Hackney Wick.

The yard we are based in is home to makers, producers, artist and creative offices, all living and working collaboratively. Much of whom we have already built a close relationship with whilst building and through our previous work at Doh.

Hearth is very accessibly placed between Hackney Wick overground station and the main pedestrian bridge into the Olympic Park, it serves all modes of transport well.

Our postcode falls into Hackney but one road over in either direction is Newham and Tower Hamlets, making us centrally located for serving all three boroughs.

Accessibility

The bakery space itself will be small but perfectly formed, although we will be unable to offer any inside seating we will be designing our space with flexibility in mind to both organically move with our young business and to offer a multi-purpose venue suitable for teaching and events.

The customer shop space is designed for wheelchair accessibility and the kitchen will be generously proportioned to allow for staff of any physical needs, with our space it is important that it is adaptable to create an ideal environment to be in, both for our staff and customers.


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Our Food

We will be running a circulatory kitchen to minimise our waste and maximise our produce. 

All of the discard from our prep will either be repurposed and given a new lease of life on the menu, what can't be used will go to our bokashi compost bins and wormeries in our little garden. 

In the garden we we will be building a salad and herb polytunnel, where the digested compost will go and which will eventually feed back into our kitchen.

Our menus will be primarily vegetarian, this is for the most part because a reductarian diet, in our opinion, is the most sustainable. Without going into too much of a lecture, animal rearing plays an important role in a regenerative agricultural system, and when they're kept to highest possible welfare, animals play a vital part in our food system.

That said, to make the most of any meat products in our kitchen, we would to use it in their entirety, and our space simply doesn't allow for doing nose to tail. We're looking at butchers, charcuteries and smokehouses we could potentially forge long lasting relationships with to enable us to do this off site. 


Bakery

Bread will be largely sourdough and baked fresh every morning alongside a selection of pastries and viennoiserie.

We'll have a set of firm favourites as well as seasonal specials making the most of our produce and smaller mills.

Produce

We will have a small retail selection which also doubles as our vegetable store, everything edible for sale within this space is something we either use or have produced in our kitchen.

Savouries

We will offer a small breakfast and lunch menu daily, largely based around and celebrating grains.

These menus will shift seasonally with daily & weekly specials.

Our breakfast and lunch menus will be available for catering for locals studios, photoshoots and offices.

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Why We're Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding seemed like a sensible choice for a community focused business, and this financial support will give us the chance to progress more quickly with our aims of opening satellite shops in neighbouring boroughs and furthering our employment & training opportunities.

We're at the fundamental point of any start-up where we have already received some backing (a loan from Maisie's grandpa, thanks Nigel!), and are looking to expand the net of our starting capital, by doing so we will be able to meet our goals sooner and offer a better working environment to our staff.

The majority of our equipment will be leased or secondhand, but for some essential pieces of kit (we're looking at you fridges) it just makes more financial sense to buy them upfront. This is great in the long run but in the short term narrows our financial capabilities, and our ideal launch pad for our social goals is to be able to give our staff their best starting foot.

The money raised here is going towards a walk in fridge (oooooh!), a massive freezer (aaaaah!), and 3-phase electrics (wowwwww!). Alright, so the excitement for you might not be the firework-noise-level excitement that it is for us but it is still a fundamental part of being able open, operate and most importantly, feed you.

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Rewards

As a social enterprise project we are wary of putting our raised funds towards rewards which you may or may not want. 

Instead when we open, we plan to have a little launch do/summer party with plenty of cake (obvs) and treats for everyone involved in the set up and supporting us, and would like to you invite along.


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Rewards

This project offered rewards

£20 or more

Ingrained Name

Your name inGRAINed (geddit?) in arty wheat in our bakery.

£20 or more

Fave Cake

We'll make your favourite cake as our special for a week and say it was all your brilliant idea. 'Brian's Battenberg', that could be you Brian (or not Brians).

£50 or more

Midsummer Opening Party

Come to our opening party and midsummer celebration where we can properly thank everyone for being involved in support and set up for Hearth.

£100 or more

Midsummer Party plus PARTY BAG

Party bags are for adults too and whoever told you otherwise is fibbing. A reusable loaf bag filled with Earth friendly treats to take home after you've had a dance and eaten cake at our party.

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