Poetry like bread


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An assignment for the Stanford University "Crash Course in Creativity" as offered in the fall of 2012. The assignment asked students to consider the value of a loaf of bread in a creative way.

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Poetry like bread

  1. 1. Ken Ronkowitzfor the “Crash Course in Creativity” Stanford University http://venture-lab.org/creativity/
  2. 2.  What is the valueof a loaf of bread?
  3. 3. The Value of a Loaf of Bread Can Be Measured  Monetarily  Nutritional value  Sale price of the loaf  Calories  Cost of the ingredients  Vitamins, fiber etc.  Labor to produce  Energy to bake But we might also consider…
  4. 4. first, a poem…
  5. 5. “Bread” by Linda Pastan “It seems to be the five stagesof yeast, not grief,you like to write about,”my son says,meaning that breadis always risingand falling, being brokenand eaten, in my poems.
  6. 6. And though he is only half serious,I want to say to him“bread rising in the bowlis like breath rising in the body;”or “if you knead the dough with perfect tenderness,it is like gently kneading fleshwhen you make love.”Baguette . . . pita . . . pane . . .Challah . . . naan: bread isthe universal language, translatableon the famished tongue.
  7. 7. Now it is time to open the package of yeastand moisten it with water,watching for its fizz,its blind energy–proofingit’s called, the animate proofof life. Everythingis ready: salt, flour, oil.Breadcrumbs are what leadthe children home.
  8. 8. Poetry Like Bread is a poetry collection by nearlyforty poets about their engagement with everydaypolitical and economic realities. The collection’s title and motto is taken fromRoque Dalton’s poem:"poetry, like bread, is for everyone“Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods. Evidence from30,000 years ago in Europe revealed starch residue on rocksused for pounding plants. It is possible that during this time,starch extract from the roots of plants, such as cattails andferns, was spread on a flat rock, placed over a fire andcooked into a primitive form of flatbread.
  9. 9. Bread is a universal food and symbolBread has a significance beyond mere nutrition in many cultures in the West andNear and Middle East because of its history and contemporary importance. The Lords Prayer, for example, contains the line "Give us this day our daily bread"; here, "bread" is commonly understood to mean necessities in general.
  10. 10. Second Harvest My inspiration for this presentation came from the crossing of two of my interests. First, is poetry, and second, communitygiving, especially in the area of the “second harvest” of foods that might be considered waste if they could not be used immediately.There are any number of organizations that work towards thegoal of feeding those in need. One that I have some experience with is the programs of the Panera Bread company.
  11. 11. Panera Cares community cafeshttp://paneracares.org Panera Cares community cafes are about working together, shoulder toshoulder with our customers, to confront a serious problem plaguingcommunities across this country. Hunger.Simply put, in these non-profit locations, we will feed anyone.We will offer a dignified dining experience in an uplifting environment –without judgment – whether or not a person can pay.Panera Cares community cafes – operated by the Panera BreadFoundation, a separate Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity – are meant toraise the level of awareness about food insecurity in this country, whilealso being a catalyst for change in our communities.Video of Panera’s founder talking about the program youtu.be/1ju8-agpCAQ
  12. 12. There is an ever-worsening epidemic of food insecurity (theUSDA’s curious euphemism for hunger) in the U.S. Considerthis: according to the United States Department of Agriculture(USDA), over 17 million U.S. households are considered “foodinsecure.”Simply put, for a significant number of Americans, putting foodon the table is a struggle. 16 million kids – 1 in 5 – do not haveenough to eat each day and lack the means to get enoughnutritious food on a regular basis.More information http://feedingamerica.org
  13. 13. Since its founding, Panera The Community Breadbox program ensures that donationsBread and its franchisees made at Panera Bread feed backhave been active in our in to the community. A portion of cash donations made bycommunities. customers in bakery-cafes may be matched by Panera and its franchisees and distributed toOperation Dough-Nation local non-profit organizations.was founded in 1992 to Contributions generated through the program haveformalize our provided basic necessities forcommitment to those in need, and have created special places andcommunity involvement. opportunities.
  14. 14. http://www.panerabread.com/about/community/“At Panera Bread®, we believe inWe show our appreciation for giving back to local communities. At the end of each day, Paneracustomers not only within our Bread donates all unsold breadbakery-cafes but also throughout and baked goods to local areathe communities we serve by hunger relief agencies and charities as part of its local Day-Endsponsoring special events open to Dough-Nation program.the neighborhood, participating Collectively, Panera bakery-cafesin charitable events and offering donated a retail value of approximately $100 million worthvarious Operation Dough- of unsold bread and baked goodsNation® programs.” in 2010 to help neighbors in need. Many of these organizations are served by Feeding America, formerly Americas Second Harvest, the nations largest domestic hunger-relief organization.
  15. 15. So, the Value of a Loaf of Bread Can Also Be Measured  by the impact on the person(s) receiving it  Monetary savings  Nutritional values  Gratefulness  Sense of being cared for and valued  Ability to continue on  And a host of other values not easily measured…