Homebaked, an inspiring community bakery, has sprung up in an old bakehouse in the shadow of Liverpool FC’s Anfield stadium. Blighted by the unfettered spread of supermarkets, Anfield was a food desert. It had also suffered from so-called ‘regeneration’: well-built homes that would have lasted another century were torn down for those that would be clapped out after 15 years.
Homebaked is a co-op where locals can become co-owners. A land trust has been set up to secure the 1902 site from the threat of demolition. Having rediscovered fresh baked bread, and reclaimed a community focal point, it’s apparent that Anfield residents will fight to safeguard the future of Homebaked.
“Resentment of supermarket monoculture grows apace”
Liverpool is bubbling up with creative food schemes. One beekeeper has set up hives and sells ‘postcode honey’, beautifully labelled with L25 or L8, depending on where the hives are located. I tasted the Toxteth one, which was a sheer delight.
In the heart of the city, the Baltic Bakehouse is turning out sourdough loaves that even celebrated breadmaker Lionel Poilâne would approve of, selling them from its café-bakery and farmers’ markets.
In a parallel trend, resentment of Liverpool’s supermarket monoculture grows apace. City website Seven Streets recently featured a Ten Tescos Tour of Liverpool’s ‘shopocalypse’, recalling the wealth of independent shops Tesco had crushed out of business.
Of course, the notion that supermarkets regenerate cities is risible. They denude urban landscape, reduce employment, and remit profits to corporate HQs. Small shops, on the other hand, keep their areas alive. It’s impressive to see how Abdhul Ghafoor’s Manchester Superstores has electrified Toxteth. Cheaper and fresher than the supermarkets, and combining food grown in the North West and Yorkshire with an astonishing range of imported stock to please Liverpool 8’s multicultural population, it’s just what Toxteth really needs.
Whether in Liverpool or elsewhere, it’s becoming increasingly clear that genuine food progress only happens when citizens reclaim food supply and production from the big chains, and make it their own.
Joanna Blythman is a journalist and author of What to Eat