A Fife flour mill has smashed its £20k Crowdfunder in a bid to breathe new life into the art of bread-making.
Scotland The Bread, based in St Monans, is raising funds to help community groups across the country grow, harvest, thresh, mill and bake with their own flour.
The £20,000 total has now been exceeded with a £25,000 stretch target added until it ends on January 31.
Project coordinator Lyndsay Cochrane said they are delighted the fundraising has been a success.
She explained: “Things did go a bit quiet over Christmas so we decided to extend it. We have seen more of a push in the last week with people reaching out.
“A lot are getting in touch to say that while they don’t have much to give, they really support what Scotland the Bread is doing.”
What is Scotland The Bread?
Scotland The Bread is based at The Bowhouse in the East Neuk, which has become well-known for running food and drink producers’ markets.
There, they mill, bag and pack grain, which is grown on nearby Balcaskie Estate in Fife.
This heritage flour is available for purchase via their online shop as well as independent stockists.
The money raised by the Crowdfunder will be invested in community outreach work, supporting new groups to start up, as well as those already running.
Lyndsay went on: “Reaching the £20,000 target secures the work for this year and there is an option for enabling people to donate after the Crowdfunder closes.”
Artisan baker Andrew Whitley co-founded Scotland The Bread with his late wife Veronica Burke in 2012.
He set about researching and developing historical grains, which would have grown in Scotland hundreds of years ago. These heritage grains are also highly nutritious.
Lyndsay explains: “In comparison to modern grains they haven’t had that level of breeding to be harvested more easily or grown in a monocrop. They are that bit more nutritious because they haven’t been bred differently.”
How do community groups get involved?
Scotland The Bread runs two projects for community groups – these are called Soil to Slice and Flour to the People.
Soil to Slice is a programme that encourages communities to get involved in growing, harvesting, threshing, milling and baking with more nutritious grains in their local area.
Meanwhile, Flour to the People was established in 2020 as a direct response to the overwhelming demand for Scotland The Bread’s flour during the first lockdown. It gives people access to flour as well as the skills to make their own bread.
Lyndsay says most of the groups involved with the project are located in Scotland’s central belt, but there are also growers in Aberfeldy and Fettercairn with recent interest from a group in Cults.
They are always on the lookout for new groups to work with and would urge anyone interested to get in touch.
How do you grow your own grain?
All you need is a plot of land and some willing volunteers!
The Granton Community Garden project has been running in Edinburgh since 2010. It started on a budget of £10 and a patch of previously waste land on a street corner. Since then, it has expanded to include nine street corner plots throughout the area.
Lyndsay explained: “A small plot of maybe two to four square metres might bring enough grain to make a small loaf of bread. People would see all the work that goes into it and appreciate it.
“Wheats can be planted in spring and winter. Spring wheat is planted between March and May and harvested around July and August.
“In the winter, it can be planted in October and November and harvested the following August and September.”
Where can you buy the heritage flour?
The heritage flour can be purchased online and also via stockists across Scotland, including Ardross Farm Shop; Elie, Gloagburn Farm Shop, Perth; Errichel Farm Shop, Aberfeldy; Grain & Sustain, Burntisland and Formartine’s Visitor Centre, Ellon,
Artisan bakeries also purchase the flour to use in their own products with businesses such as Aran Bakery, Dunkeld; Wild Hearth Bakery, Comrie; Woodlea Stables, Fife and Bandit Bakery, Aberdeen.