In the past week, I have spoken to bakers all over the world, including members of my own team and students in Moscow and bakers in Kyiv. The distress of this situation is acute. The Russians I know are equally beside themselves, and so many of us feel disempowered right now. Our community is without prejudice, without borders, and in accordance with our values, we ask that our students and anyone who is connected to us stand together to call for a cessation of violence. As I find myself in this moment, I will not be silent, and I will not accept what is going on quietly. I hope you will join me in a call for peace.
For the record, my personal call for peace is that Putin sets down all weapons and ends violence and leaves Ukraine immediately.
Baking is activism
This is a call to all bakers, to come together and bake for peace around the world, to look beyond the propaganda. The only way forward is dialogue. There are huge machines at play here – geographical and political ideologies that are clashing. Hatred breeds hatred, and this call to bake as activism is about baking with compassion and hope.
We have created a Seeds for Solidarity Porridge that all can use as inspiration and support. If you have been following me personally, then you will know that I teach about systems change and that baking is a form of activism.
There are many ways that you can use this recipe:
A formula for peace
Sometimes speaking out is hard. We feel that we may not be listened to, and it can be hard to know where to start or how to convey your values and message. So, I have created a recipe for Seeds for Solidarity Porridge that you can add to your bread. Baking can help on many levels, and it can be a way for you to voice support for the Ukrainians, and to protest against violence. You can use this recipe as a call for peace to the politicians on all sides and as a way to bake and fundraise for refugees. It is also a way to help us within our own homes to process the horror, and to calm ourselves in times of extreme stress.
An act of protest & my step-by-step guide to using your bread as an effective social media protest:
The act of making the porridge and adding it to our bread offers the opportunity to stop and reflect, to not just accept what’s going on around us. There is far more going on with this conflict than meets the eye. I will write more about the very real threat to global food systems, but for now I will focus on how we can us our voices, hands, hearts and minds to make our voices heard through the bread we make.
- Each time that you bake using the Seeds for Solidarity Porridge, use the time that you are baking to collect your thoughts. Write them down, while your bread is proving and articulate the goals that you hope to accomplish. Remember to keep your message succinct and clear, such as call to action or a fundraiser.
- Take photos of your making your bread and share them on social media, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and TikTok.
- Use hashtags to gather our community effectively and communicate our message. Here are some suggestions: #SourdoughforSolidarity #BakeforPeace #ProtestBread #RightToLife #CallForPeace #BakeforUkraine #Peace #Support #Protest #Compassion
- Tag your politicians and political parties – on all sides – as well as journalists and organisations to show your support and make your voice heard. This is also a good way to direct your tell your followers towards other voices you would like to amplify. I find Ukrainian writer Olia a brilliant source of how you can help support Ukraine.
- Tag your local or favourite bakery and let them know that this recipe is available for them to use as a peace bake to raise funds if they want to.
- Be prepared for negative comments. You can either delete them, respond to them reminding the writer of the need for compassion, or you can totally ignore them. Do not engage further.
- Be very clear on how you intend to raise funds, and link to a reputable and peaceful registered charity.
Baking to raise funds
The most obvious way, and the way I hope that all bakers and bakeries around the world will choose, is to use the Seeds for Solidarity Porridge as a fundraiser. Here are my top tips on how to bake to raise funds to help support Ukraine.
Activism requires action. To be an activist, you must act the act, and adding the Seeded Solidarity Porridge to your is a form of activism. A choir is full of many voices.
A hungry man is an angry one
It is not possible to make proper or logical decisions and function correctly if we are not able to support our own physiological health and manage our blood sugar levels. We know that when we have low blood sugar, tempers are frayed. Right now, we need to make sure that we feed the people around us to keep their moods balanced, so that they can think correctly.
Baking is also a way to soothe ourselves – bread is a form of self-therapy. There is a huge amount of distress for each of us in watching this violence unfurl, and we’re often seeing it on the same screens with which we share pictures of our children, families, pets and loved ones. This is incredibly hard on our mental health. So, the actual act of baking is self-soothing. I think there are so many of us who need that right now. We are already on the edge of what most people can cope with in when it comes to our mental health. Bread has a wonderful ability to be adaptogenic, it’s something I’ve often talked about. When it comes to those we love or ourselves, we must have tools at our disposal for self-care. I have unlocked one of the lessons we teach for the next month, to share amazing tips and techniques to calm anxiety and your parasympathetic nervous system through baking by our expert in mental health, Pauline Beaumont. I hope baking with this porridge can be also used as self-therapy to help you during this difficult time.