/Social Responsibility & Purpose Economy

Social Responsibility & Purpose Economy

People often asked us about our revenue and business model when we started Baking Lab in 2017. At that time we did not have an expliciet roadmap. Some people found that confusing, others exciting. Obviously, we did have a general idea about the direction we intended to pursue. We felt that we are emerging from a time in which society makes fewer and fewer mistakes, but moves in the wrong direction, while now the time is right to make more mistakes and explore alternative directions, those that support personal growth, community building and a more sustainable economy. We wanted to create a place that would allow young people to experience the pleasure of finding things out, a place that would give them purpose and allow their skills, energy and creativity to contribute in a meaningful and artisan way to society. We also thought that the knowledge embedded within Amsterdam’s numerous universities and colleges deserves to be explored and shared in a different and more inspiring way and that involving the institutes students in that proces is important.

We decided to open Baking Lab, a micro bakery in Amsterdam that links the ancient art of bread making with the modern world of science communication. A place that teaches young students to become artisans, learn them to manage a business, organise workshops, team buildings and innovate in the circular food business. These students and graduates now bake sourdough breads, teach and bring the artisan skills in an old and new way back to the street of Amsterdam, bringing smiles to people’s faces and contributing to the quality of life in our neighbourhood.

How can we encourage young people to become makers instead of consumers who are increasingly initiating invisible commerce chains at the push of a button? We believe that we should encourage them to learn a craft and enjoy the hard work that is often associated with it. It can be a fairly simple way to increase people’s self-esteem and autonomy. In addition, craftsman often acquire a meaningful and respected role in their community and can provide an alternative example of “smart living”. Let’s try to encourage them to consider their values instead of following conventions blindly. Let’s challenge them to explore alternative paths in between the maze of financial spreadsheets and find a meaningful way towards their future.

Results

  • We organised numerous workshops and informal science education programs that inspired people to think about their food.
  • Our bakery serves the community, supports more social engagement and provides the ingredients for many home bakers in the area.
  • We provide a meaningful workplace for young people and students.
  • We have coached, motivated and helped both volunteers and interns to find their way in society.
  • Using common sense principles we demonstrate prevention of food waste. Our circulair bakery and cafe reuses old bread as a bread improver, a method selected as a best practice by the Dutch Platform for Circular Economy.