What we do and why?

The destiny of humans cannot be separated from the destiny of earth,’

Thomas Berry

What? Our mission is to create delicious food for our community with the beautiful abundance blossoming around us at Wakelyns organic agroforestry, the home of our bakery and kitchen, and from other agroecological farms and producers.

How? Like the alleys in the agroforestry system at Wakelyns, we fulfill our mission through alleys of business. Just as diverse agroforestry is a resilient and flexible method of growing food, our three main diverse income streams give the business resilience and flexibility also. This illustrates the deep connection we have to the farming system at Wakelyns, on many levels that will become more apparent as you read on below.

1 – We bake 100% wholemeal sourdough bread using the YQ population wheat developed and grown in the arable alleys at Wakelyns. We also use YQ and other heterogeneously diverse grains from farms all over the UK, like Turners of Bytham, Gothelney Farm and Green Acres Farm. We call them our local loaves. We bake three days a week for about 15 local shops, bread subscribers and Hodmedod’s online.

2 – We harvest and process the abundant diversity of fruit from the tree lines at Wakelyns. Up until a few years ago, Wakelyns has broadly been a research farm. 2021, when we started our bakery, was the first year all the fruit had been harvested, which is so exciting, and delicious! Using the vast variety of cherries, plums, apples, pears, quince and medlars, we make preserves to last us the year, other baked goods such as cherry tarts, apple juice, cordials, and we are self-sufficient in our own dried fruit, and many of our sweeteners also – we make apple molasses using our apple juice.

We also use lentils and other pulses, and vegetables from RealVeg CSA @Wakelyns, all grown in the arable alleys. To these ingredients, we add more produce from other agroecological farms, ensuring that all of the food we use in our bakery can be traced back to soil, animals and people – in essence, our Earth – who are being cared for.

All of these ingredients from Wakelyns and beyond the farm gate, come together to form another alley of our business –

3 – catering – cooking and baking for events off the farm, such as NOCC; on the farm, with events like our open days and courses, and for those staying at Wakelyns.

The community in our mission is all about those living at and coming to the farm, as well as reaching out to those in our region and beyond.

Why? We want to enable more food produced locally to be consumed locally. Our current, global and disconnected food and farming system is not sustainable. For thousands of years, our Earth was flourishing in its diversity. But in only half a century, we have lost so much of it. Modern agriculture, and the ways in which food is traded in the global system, is one of the main reasons for this biodiversity loss. At the same time, physical and mental human health, linked to lack of diversity in our guts, is greatly deteriorating. This simultaneous diversity loss in Earth and human health is no coincidence. Therefore, we believe that if we can create diverse and localised farming systems, which are much more secure and able to cope with our changing climate whilst at the same time, producing diverse food, that works with and as part of Nature, we can and will, heal us and our Earth.

This work cannot all be left to our farmers and growers. All of us must play a part on the recovery of our Earth. As cooks and bakers, and all of us eaters, we believe that we have a great responsibility to source, prepare and share our ingredients in a way that respects the health of our soils and our customers. In addition, if we can create a demand for more agroecological food, more and more will be grown. If we continue to eat food from a broken system, it will continue and worsen until total collapse.

Together with Earth healing, through our daily practice as bakers and cooks with the alleys of our business, we are learning that a healthier and more connected food and farming system goes far beyond ameliorating our soils’ and our health. It brings value, far beyond the monetary, to our work, and has the potential to create the whole systemic change that we so desperately need today.

In the face of our our current climactic, ecological, social and cultural crises, it can sequester carbon; create habitats for animals, like the turtle doves at Wakelyns; bring food sovereignty and security; and also…

build communities and help with serious problems of loneliness and isolation by connecting people to who is growing and processing their food, the land where it was grown, and to themselves through cooking, awareness and better nourishment; bring creativity and imagination to our work through working with the seasons, rather than relying on recipes and out of season, imported foods; job satisfaction; food culture, identity and belonging; diversity to our land, our foods, our guts, our bodies, our minds…

As the Indian scholar, Vandana Shiva, says, ‘Food is the currency of life, and we believe that a better, more holistic food system could be at the heart of real systems change and a whole cultural shift to a more integrated, just, and kind, whole world.

‘The inner crisis in environmental politics today is precisely the lack of bold concepts that address the challenge of poverty, energy, biodiversity, and climate change with
an integrated vision of human progress.’

Mike Davis

We hope that when you visit and eat our food that it uplifts and inspires you.

Connection is the first act of acknowledgment, accountability and responsibility. It offers, whether fleeting or long-lasting, a closeness to all others.

It is jubilant. Ecstatic. Without fear.’

Kae Tempest, On Connection

The YQ population wheat growing in North Field at Wakelyns with the plums and walnut trees, pictured, harvest 2020