When people ask me how long The Essential Bakery has been open, I find it isn’t as straight-forward as an anniversary date. You see, I didn’t originally open The Essential Bakery to be a full-time bakery. I actually opened this location under a different name, as a Holistic Nutrition Center with just a basic home-kitchen for cooking classes and to bake for clients.
Within 2 weeks however, this location took on a life of its own. I outgrew my original kitchen equipment, my business took on a new name to reflect the change to a full-time bakery, and with 2 further upgrades-a second oven and a large 10 Qt mixer, it is now a bustling kitchen most days of the week.
As The Essential Bakery approaches it’s 2-year anniversary this February 1st, I look to what is ahead not only for my little bakery as a business but also how my professional background can be combined with this food service path that sort-of “found me”, to make a tangible difference in the world.
I am reminded of the principles that have always guided my business:
#1: Serve whatever needs a person presents first, and then provide them food second. Even though this is technically a food-service business, it is human interaction that I believe is the greater point of the food industry as a whole. When we eat at a restaurant for example, it is the experience and company we are with that ultimately makes the evening memorable. No matter how good the food, if you are eating it alone-it just isn’t the same thing.
Every person who comes into my micro bakery is treated as an important member of a COMMUNITY. I make it a point to offer help that goes beyond the scope of a “baker” as often as possible, because I believe that food may open the door, but human connection should be the point of all we do.
#2: Love good food. Do it well. Do it from love. Do it as an act of service and with the deliberate intention to nourish every cell in each customer’s body.
#3: Seek the higher purpose in every encounter. There are few things more important than our Purpose. Some of us know what that is practically from birth, while others seek it slowly and in an indirect fashion. I was called to serve people at the tender age of 6, and set my mind on becoming a missionary at age 12. I went into full-time ministry at age 17, and while my path has taken some interesting turns and detours, I have spent a good deal of time since leaving the ministry in service of some kind to my fellow human beings.
It is time to bring The Essential Bakery into the same Purpose.
My missionary and communications work took me around the world experiencing food in many different cultures. Aside from the diversity our human species shares when it comes to WHAT we eat, one of the most interesting aspects of these travels was to see how gathering around a table to share a meal was a point of community focus regardless of country, culture or social status. Sharing food together marks time, heals relationships, celebrates events, creates community, bonds new families, settles feuds and so much more.
It is this sense of community that drives me.
Creating food is a fundamentally healing process. It’s the reason so many cultural practices centre around the preparation and consumption of food. I want to begin to involve marginalized people in my business;
- Unwed mothers looking for in-demand skills to begin their professional lives.
- Women leaving abusive situations who are starting over and need work experience to be able to set themselves free.
- A young person without a supportive family who needs direction-a way to unleash their creativity and be a part of a community.
- A retired person with many years of work experience who misses being needed-being useful.
Step 1: Renovate the existing space to allow for seating, and to add a needed stove/ventilation system.
Step 2: Develop a skills-aquisition program that will take a participant through a particular number of weeks and teach them a well-rounded set of skills they can take into the workforce.
Step 3: Create collaborative relationships with local non-profits and community resources to develop a work-education program and to locate the right people to extend this opportunity to.
Step 4: Explore the possibility of becoming a not-for-profit, a branch of a government-funded program or establish on-going fundraising/philanthropic sponsorship to support the training/wage of participants.
WHAT WE WILL DO WITH THE FUNDS:
To begin, basic construction:
We need to remove/move a couple of walls, refloor and re-do lighting, purchase equipment such as a Stove and commercial dishwasher, as well as add a second bathroom which is required by health code.
We will also need to build/purchase seating appropriate for a small-space, and a vertical product display unit-as my current counter uses up a lot of valuable floor space.
And finally, whatever remains will go toward the purchase of items for the cafe area of the facility such as dishes, cutlery, glasses, cloth napkins decor and other sundries.
Please join this COMMUNITY of people wanting to make a difference by adding your energy and support in the form of donations to our fund!
You can follow the progress of this project on our Wix site. And watch as things begin to unfold in the Spring or Summer of 2016. We look forward to sharing our journey and the success stories you are an integral part in soon!