Changing the #foodsystem with #bread and #agroforestry – Andrew Whitley in the Scottish Borders

Andrew Whitley is a campaigning organic baker known for starting the Village Bakery in Melmerby in the 1970s and latterly as co-founder of the Real Bread Campaign. His book Bread Matters is credited with ‘changing the way we think about bread’ by Sheila Dillon of the BBC Food Programme and his business of the same name provides artisan bakery training. Now he’s followed his interest in bread back to its roots by farming in the Scottish borders – using agroforestry approaches, inspired by the work of Prof Martin Wolfe at Wakelyns. He is also experimenting with some 70 varieties of wheat, spelt, emmer, rye, oats and barley, including varieties that used to be grown in Scotland, some obtained from the Vavilov Institute in Russia – as he explains in the video tour of his farm.

With his wife and co-director Veronica Burke he is pioneering a new project – Scotland The Bread – which is a collaboration to re-establish a Scottish flour and bread supply that is healthy, equitable, locally controlled and sustainable. It links together plant breeders, farmers, millers, bakers, nutritionists and citizens. Their measure of success is how reliably they pass on nourishment, from the soil to the slice. To achieve that, they aim to create change in every part of the system: fair prices for local farmers growing nourishing food for people, fewer damaging food miles, more nutrition in every slice of bread and more jobs per loaf as they skill up community bakers to bring out the best in the local grains. They believe that growing better grain and baking better bread can provide part of the solution to diet-related ill-health. Everyone – older people, children, those looked after and ‘catered for’ in our hospitals, schools, prisons and care homes – will benefit.

They aim to combine research with action, so Scotland The Bread collaborates with scientists in leading institutions to find traits in heritage Scottish and Nordic wheats that will help them to produce locally resilient, nutritious grains. At the same time, Scotland The Bread is preparing a market for the new grains by building community capacity in small-to-medium scale artisan breadmaking.

In autumn 2015 the first four community projects will sow some of Scotland The Bread’s trial wheats. By late summer 2016 they will be able to harvest, thresh, clean and mill that grain and (using slow, natural fermentation) turn it into healthy, digestible bread.

Currently a project of Bread Matters, Scotland The Bread will launch as a Community Benefit Society towards the end of 2015.

For more information contact

About Geoff Tansey

I curate the Food Systems Academy, a free, on-line, open education resource to transform our food systems. I am also a member of the Food Ethics Council and chaired the independent Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty, which reported in 2015.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Changing the #foodsystem with #bread and #agroforestry – Andrew Whitley in the Scottish Borders

  1. Reblogged this on Kitchen Counter Culture and commented:
    A fascinating, very informative video about Andrew Whitley’s compelling endeavours “to rebuild nutritional quality and local self-sufficiency of the Scottish bread supply.” I love his baking book Bread Matters, and now hearing him talk about “diversity in adversity” and agricultural resilience.

  2. Pingback: Changing the #foodsystem with #bread and #agroforestry – Andrew Whitley in the Scottish Borders | Kitchen Counter Culture | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

  3. Pingback: SFYN at Edinburgh Food Fest:Your #WhatTheFood Questions Answered? – SFYN SCOTLAND

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s