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A Magazine for Sheffield

Our Sheffield Bread: The story of wheat continues

Be a part of community breadmaking this Saturday 11 March using wheat grown in gardens and small plots across the city.

Grain to flour Sheffield Wheat Experiment

Cleaning the Sheffield wheat grain, the final process before milling for flour.

Sheffield Wheat Experiment

The Sheffield Wheat Experiment (SWE) is the project behind around 250 micro wheat plots popping up all over the city to collectively produce a grain of, and for, Sheffield.

The group want to grow cereals locally to support food sovereignty, rather than profit. Their ambition is to produce wheat which is more nutritious while encouraging grassroots change by raising people's understanding of how food systems could become more resilient in the face of the climate crisis.

Local people are growing a ‘population’ of wheat in gardens and small areas of land in Sheffield. A population is grain made up of a number of varieties. This variety is an advantage, because if conditions become intolerable for one variety and its yield declines, another variety will do particularly well. This process leads to a more constant yield over time, with far less requirement for artificial fertilisers or pesticide.

For those involved, the project has helped them rediscover a connection to the land and the growing cycle of one of our staple ingredients. Through a programme of activity hosted by SWE, the growers have explored how industrial agriculture and commodity grains have fundamentally shaped what and how we eat, and how older forms of wheat can give agency back to growers.

Now the project is turning its attention to wheat flour to explore what bread means to the people of Sheffield.

This weekend, the Sheffield Wheat Experiment are hosting a community event in celebration of bread in all its forms across different times and cultures. There will be food, baking demonstrations, tasters of a variety of heritage wheat grains and the chance to get your hands on their very own Sheffield flour from the 2022 harvest.

The event is free and will take place at Common Ground community centre in Nether Edge on Saturday 11 March, from 2pm to 6pm, with two tickets time slots available.

SWE invite you to share your favourite sweet and savoury bakes – whether they’re family heirloom recipes, a new favourite that you’ve only just discovered, or a traditional bread baked by your community, made using whatever flour you usually use at home.

If you would like to contribute, SWE would also love to hear what your bake means to you. Just write this down with any additional ingredients, especially allergens, and bring them along with your bake to display at the event.

Hannah Fincham of Sheffield Wheat Experiment told Now Then: "Through our project we have been exploring the story of wheat, and this event will spark conversations in the best way that there is, over the sharing of some bread!

"Baking is a way to bring people together to celebrate the diversity of cultures and baking skills of the people in Sheffield."

Learn more

Visit Sheffield Wheat Experiment for more information and photos of the growing journey.

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