Built by campers, this structure uses pedal power to produce flour for bread, enough to feed a camp full of kids.
It's an unfortunate symptom of our dysfunctional food system that most of us aren't fully aware of where our food comes from and how it's made; we often don't know concretely the effort that's required to produce our food. So it's no wonder that the notion of "farm-to-table" and "eating local" has grown in recent years. Hoping to convey that idea in a small but tactile way is this "human-powered bakery," created by London-based Studio MICAT for a children's camp in Stratford, New Hampshire.
Dubbed Brawn & Bread, the structure features a bike-powered flour grinder and an oven, which was constructed last summer by 80 campers between the ages of 11 and 17, many of them learning new skills like welding, casting concrete and using power tools -- an culinary version of an adventure playground built and operated by kids.
Grain is first brought up the tower with a cable winch and funnelled into the red metallic container, which is then ground using the pedal-powered system that is hooked up to the stationary bike. The ground flour is gathered in large glass jars and made into bread, with the contraption being able to produce bread for up to 150 people per day.
To protect it, a tarp has been hung over the cast concrete counter. The oven's wooden planks have been charred by the campers using the Japanese method of shou sugi ban, which helps to fire- and pest-proof the wood.
As the designers explain, the idea is to impart a valuable lesson in a world where most of us are disconnected from our food:
The bread gym is a small but salutary reminder of the effort required to produce this daily essential, and will hopefully inspire a more respectful attitude towards the humble loaf. It relinks effort and reward, requiring a whole body workout of its users and in so doing provides the sustenance to refuel afterwards.
To see more, visit Studio MICAT.