Did you know that Loaf is a worker co-operative? We haven’t always been – it’s hard to be a co-operative when you only have one member! But, since opening up on the high street in Stirchley and expanding the team, we have adopted a co-operative model of running things around here. For us this means that the eight of us who are employed by Loaf work together as a team to manage the business. We are paid equally and are all very invested in making Loaf a lovely place to visit and a lovely workplace too. We all have our different strengths and talents in the day to day running of the bakery and cookery school and work pretty independently lots of the time, but long term and strategic decisions are made together, guided by a strong set of core values and aims which have been with Loaf since its inception.
Aside from our internal structure, being a worker co-operative also means we are part of a long standing and international movement committed to the seven co-operative principles. All of them are important but, and maybe particularly in the lead up to Christmas, the seventh, concern for the community, is especially pertinent. Our fellow Stirchley co-operators, Birmingham Bike Foundry, have been working hard raising money to send to another worker co-operative bakery, this one in Northern Syria. The city of Kobane has been in the news often over the past four years of war in Syria, because of the destruction and chaos brought by IS militants during the 2014 siege and because of the inspiring response of the region’s citizens, who are remaking Rojava on radical democratic principles.
The money raised will be going to a group of women who are working to found a co-operative bakery to provide, just like Loaf aims to, meaningful work for its members and quality bread for its community, albeit in a much more challenging setting.
For the next week we will be donating profits from our sweet bun sales towards the drive; if you want to make your own donation you can pop in our donation jar or you can also do so on the fundraisers website here.