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The grain may be spent, but the bread pays it forward

Partnership between Nourish by 10C and Fixed Gear Brewing Co.sees grains used to make beer then used to make charitable loaves of bread

Nourish by 10C, in a partnership with Fixed Gear Brewing Co., is taking the brewing process to a new level, one loaf of bread at a time.

By using spent grains, an edible by-product of the brewing process, the idea for the bread is built on the principles of a circular food economy and through the efforts of Our Food Future Guelph Wellington, the initiative re-imagines how food is produced, distributed, sold and consumed, where everyone can access nutritional food.

The Nourish by 10C bread project helps reduce waste with the use of spent grains which contain a similar protein content to almonds and with three times the fibre of oats.

“It’s important to re-use and to make sure nutrient rich foods are not lost in the system,” says Julia Grady, executive director at 10C Shared Space.

“With each loaf of bread we sell, one is taken to other food programs. We match it, one-for-one.” 

Funds raised through the sales of the bread help Nourish by 10C fund a walk-in fridge in its community shared kitchen.

Donated bread is circulated through local food programs to agencies including Chalmers Community Services, The SEED, the North End Harvest Market and Two Rivers Neighborhood Group.

“We coordinate with Fixed Gear Brewing Co.who provide the spent grains in food-safe buckets, which we then grab and bake,” Grady says.

“Most of this year went into development. We were baking about 16 loaves a week and last week, we baked 32 loaves. Our goal is 64 loaves a week.”

The hearty handcrafted sourdough bread contains unbleached wheat bread flour, sourdough starter, sesame seeds and sea salt, giving the loaf a complex nutty flavour.

The magic ingredient? Spent grains.

Each loaf is hand-shaped and baked at high heat in a circular Dutch oven.

“People say the bread is tasty and has a nutty flavour. It does have a good flavour profile. People really like it,” Grady says.

Each full loaf of bread costs $10, or $35 monthly. Half-loaves are available on request at $5.

Orders can be placed online and every Saturday, loaves can be picked up at Fixed Gear Canteen or delivered at no cost.

“It’s important that we coordinate with the other agencies as well. The idea of this project is also to encourage visitation, to get out and see your local neighbourhood,” Grady says.

“We are still in the middle of COVID, but as we scale up production, we also hope to recruit more volunteers – maybe in September. We need volunteers who are interested in baking, and there are so many good skills they can learn.”

10C Shared Space is a not-for-profit social enterprise, a community hub where students, professionals and researchers can gather to exchange ideas and work for change. The meeting space helps deepen community relationships, and offers opportunities for people to work, meet, create and eat.

"Nourish" offers food with a purpose where community partners improve well-being, reduce food insecurity and provide educational programming.

Nourish by 10C says the bread is much more than a delicious local project. It is an example of what is possible when food is created with a purpose and knowing how it is made, distributed, and shared.

For Nourish by 10C, everyone benefits through having access to healthy food, reducing waste and fostering community connections.

“It might just be a grain in the sand, but it’s incremental,” says Grady.

The spent grain in every loaf supports the pay-it-forward food initiative.

“It’s fun and it’s tangible,” Grady adds.

“It’s a small project to help reclaim food waste, work with other community agencies, turn it into something nutritious, and grow it.”

Orders can be placed online.

Weekly orders can be picked up at Fixed Gear Canteen or delivered each Saturday.

For more information, or to volunteer, email [email protected].