Kicking Hunger's Butt, Three Homemade Loaves of Bread at a Time

Three loaves of bread, all baked and ready for eating. (Photo: Anna Bolotnikova/Shutterstock)

Jerry James Stone wants to kick hunger’s butt. He’s started the Three Loaves movement to do just that, and we all have the opportunity to join him.

The idea is simple. Each month, you bake three loaves of bread — one for you, one for a friend, and one for someone in need. I asked the Cooking Stoned blogger to tell us about this project, which he launched earlier this week.

MNN: What's the idea behind Three Loaves? Why have you created this movement and asked others to join in?

Jerry James Stone: A few years back, Yahoo gave me $100 to do something good. I took that 100 bucks and turned it into a lot of bread. With the help of a few friends, we really did something special that day and not a day goes by that I haven't thought about doing it again.

But, it was really hard. My kitchen was a disaster, and you have to make all these compromises to turn 100 bucks into a ton of bread. I was fine even putting up my own money, but it was just a bit too much. That is, I wanted to do something I could do regularly.

It took me a while to figure it out, but I subconsciously came up with some goals — a laundry list, if you will, on how to do this better. One, it had to be reasonably scalable. If I only do it every two years, who am I helping?

Two, I didn't want to compromise on food quality. That first $100 made a lot of basic white bread. I wanted community to be a part of it just like the beginning. Yahoo gave me cash to do something wonderful, and my friends and I did just that.

Three, I wanted it to be social. I love the Internet!

Once I realized I had a list of things that must be met, it was just a matter of figuring out the right thing.

Explain how Three Loaves will work.

Three Loaves accomplishes a few things. Every month participants will receive a seasonal bread recipe from me for three loaves. One is for them. One is for a friend. And, the other is for someone in need. I structured it this way because donating food to food banks has created this "discard" mentality. It's like getting rid of old clothes on Craigslist.

Food is so powerful. It's community and visceral, so we should harness that power.

Don't get me wrong, food banks do amazing things and I support them. But in the modern food movement, we can do more and expand that model.

So by baking a loaf for yourself, you are investing in something you want to eat. Every activist knows you want to grow. Yes, Facebook and Twitter will be a part of that growth. But, what better way to get another person involved than to make them a tasty loaf of bread and tell them why you did it? And of course, the reason we are doing this ... for someone in need.

Each month, we'll use the power of seasonal produce to do this.

How difficult will the recipes be?

The recipes will be similar to that of Cooking Stoned, in that you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck. With Cooking Stoned, I try to create stuff that is not terribly difficult but has a lot of kapow to it. It's gorgeous, sounds divine and is fairly easy to make. These recipes will be similar if not simpler.

Seasonal produce will a big part of it. Just like with Cooking Stoned, I want to promote local and seasonal fruits and veggies. But, participants don't have to use my recipe. I won't be offended. This is about community and food, not me.

When will the first recipe be emailed to participants, and how often will they receive a new email?

I hope to have the first recipe this month. Ideally participants will be emailed twice a month. Once with the recipe just so they can prepare, decide if they want to find something else, and ask me questions. Then, when we kick off the monthly bake, they will get a reminder email.

I am still figuring out some of the logistics. Will I encourage people to bake on a single day? The weekend? Over the period of a week?

It is safe to say that I will be learning a lot these next few months.

Any suggestions for finding someone in need to give the third loaf to?

Well, we use the term "someone in need" fairly loosely. That person doesn't need to be living on the streets with no job. If you have those people in your community, please consider giving your loaf to them.

Your local food bank probably cannot take it due to it being unpackaged food, but they probably know someone who can. Check with any church in your area. They will also have resources. There are many community groups that can help. It might require a bit of legwork, but I am confident that people will find a recipient.

Eventually we want to help with this problem, connecting people to the needy. But this falls into the category of things I need to learn.

What sort of response are you having? How many people have signed up so far, and what's your dream number of participants?

We got 74 signups on our first day. We haven't gone balls-out on promotion yet, and the website needs a full design. What is there now is just something to get it up and running. But we want a bit more depth than what is there.

I also need to take some photos of me making bread. I was surprised that I didn't have any so, for now, cranberries. Once the site is a bit more robust, I would love to have thousands of participants across the globe.


You can sign up for Three Loaves on the movement’s website and join Jerry in saying “f*ck you to hunger!”I have.