Riverside Bakery

community-supported bakery

What is a Community Supported Bakery

Like other community-supported initiatives, a community-supported Bakery seeks to involve its supporters in an enterprise of shared risk, responsibility and reward. For us, a community-supported enterprise is about acknowledging that there is more than the simple ‘producer/consummer’ divide. It is about co-producing the food that will nourrish us.

If you have heard of Cooperatives or Community-supported Agriculture, this is a very similar idea.

what it means for the Riverside Bakery

  • Directors, Bakers, Members, Cutomers all co-produce the bread
  • Customers are invited to become members and buy 'bread shares', for a regular, weekly supply of bread and more involvement in what the business becomes
  • Any surplus the bakery makes will be used to support "initiatives which focus on local and/or community food production which will positively affect Stirling and Stirlingshire, by providing one or several of the following: food education, food sovereignty, equality, local food network, Scottish grain growing and milling, incentive for food businesses or social enterprises, local food events." (taken from our Community Interest Statement)
  • What the bakery owns (assets) is locked to the community it operates in. That means that if it were to close down, the assets would be transfered to a designated local organisation.

A brief History of the project

The Riverside Bakery is a project which started around September 2014, from the cooperation of three amateur and passionate bakers: Théo, Tom and Nils. We wish to make our handmade bread available to the local community, and to involve our customers and members in social enterprise project.We moved into our house in Riverside in the summer of 2014 and started making bread from home nearly immediately, experimenting with recipes from our respective countries of origin (France, Czech Republic and Germany) and beyond. This enriched the cultural diversity of our baking and we started writing down the successful recipes in a shared journal.

After a couple of months, and repeated requests, we decided to start collecting email addresses from interested folks. This would be the start of our bread order scheme, sometimes called ‘Bread Club’ by other bakeries. We would send our newsletter at the beginning of the week, announcing what type of bread would be available, and where it could be picked up from, people could then order it and pick it up on the Thursday either from our place in Riverside, or on the Stirling University Campus.

The fact that we were from student backgrounds gave rise to developments at the University, notably with the Green and Blue Space, a Climate Challenge Fund initiative of the Students Union focussing on reducing waste, and on our relationship to food on campus (community garden, food workshops, food cooperative etc.). The Students Union showed interest in our project from the start, and offered us resources to allow us to continue and prosper. Our cooperation with them is still going to this day, and the Food Hive Cooperative remains one of our 'Bread points'. We also started growing the project to reach out to the more permanent, local community in Stirling itself. This started with the support of Transition Stirling, which accomplished a lot in the way of community-based initiatives and promoting and strengthening a local food network. In January 2014, we set up another bread point with the Cycle Hub (Forth Environment Link), when they decided to launch 'Foodie Fridays'.

The best part of 2015 was spent building up on this momentum, and after being awarded £2700 from Firstport, we decided to take it to the next level and incorporated as a Community Interest Company (CIC), which is a form of social enterprise with 'locked assets' and a 'social mission' which directs how to spend our surplus. In the summer 2015, the bakery got in touch with the Hillview Community Centre Association, and we decided to settle for premises in the kitchen there, from which we will open officially in December this very year!