Shorten The Food Chain
'Shorten the food chain' is the working title for a socio economic study instigated by bakery owner Kimberley Bell.
"Part of my motivation for starting Small Food Bakery was a reaction I had to understanding the shortcomings of 'Big Food' (the global multibillion pound industry that produces the majority of the foods we eat). I spent a year as a consultant researching the American food movement and designing 'scratch made' recipes as part of an anti fast food campaign. During this research I came to understand that the way we currently farm, process, distribute and sell food is having a devastating effect on our environment, health, wellbeing and social structure. I have always loved preparing food for others but I became so aware of the problems with our food system I realised that if I wanted to start a food producing business, I must do it without entering into, or becoming part of that same system. Hence the name I chose for the bakery; Small Food"
The project began in 2014 with Small Food Bakery, an open plan food production kitchen in art centre in Nottingham. The bakery is a place where visitors can see every aspect of the making process, purchase hand made/ scratch made food, chat to the bakers and cooks and learn more about process and ingredients.
A café pop up at Nottingham Market followed in December 2015. The café was a showcase of local food and drink, with a seasonal menu and the entire supply chain procured from growers and food producers based in Nottingham and the neighbouring counties. The café sat alongside a showcase of local designer makers selling home ware, furniture and clothing and the businesses involved in the market attracted a lot of local attention and support.
The project continues, now focussing on the bakery and its supply chain. Many people have a desire to support local business, knowing that to do so will have a positive effect on the area they live in and the people around them. Many customers of the bakery choose to go out of their way to visit and purchase their bread from us, some understanding that if they dont, the bakery wont be there for long. This 'use it or loose it' concept is easy to visualise. What is more difficult to understand is how much of the money they spend on a loaf actually goes into the local economy? Small Local businesses employ local people sure, but in the case of the bakery that may account for only 30% of the ticket price of the product. Where does the rest of the money go? Does it do good or does it cause harm? I there a way to measure this? 'Shorten the food chain' is not simply about reducing 'food miles'; Its an experiment to find out exactly what socio economic impact a food manufacturing business can have within it's entire supply chain. By using the bakery as a model, we will examine every aspect of its purchasing, scrutinising the decisions we make to ensure we have complete traceability from our products back to the soil, with every financial transaction in between logged and quantified for economic impact. A Small Food Bakery producing 200 loaves a day wont fix a broken food system, but maybe transparent sharing of knowledge may inspire others to join the movement.
We have begun a journey and we look forward to presenting the results, but its no small task. We are looking for collaborators. Farmers, primary producers, academic researchers, economists, filmmakers, artists, illustrators, sponsors, writers....if you are interested and want to get involved please send us a message and we will get in touch: