I’ve been hoping to write about the mission of Sweet Jubilee for a while but have not found the energy to do any serious writing during the government shutdown. I’ve been more concerned about not being simultaneously appalled and afraid. Now that some tension has passed I’m able to do activities outside of baking comfort foods.
The first concept for Sweet Jubilee came to me as an actual café or restaurant based on the One World Everybody Eats Foundation (OWEE) model for community cafés. However that model is based more on fighting hunger and not peddling sweets. I have found that I am more concerned with helping people find dignified employment and developing skills to help them find that employment.
When I was in culinary school I wrote this as my mission statement:
“My vision is for all beings to be happy. I will attain this by creating a safe environment that will facilitate non-violent communication for those with diverging world views and life experiences while satisfying their basic human need for food, shelter, safety, dignified employment and love”
I must have been listening to John Lennon on repeat to actually put that dream into words. I love the concept but I’m also afraid to put it out into the world and have it ridiculed. Business people don’t see it as a viable means to make money. It’s extremely difficult to explain to people that this develops the local economy by uplifting its citizens. People that are well fed, feel safe, and are educated to have viable skills will help money circulate money though the economy (and society). But I wouldn’t make much money for stakeholders. The majority of business leaders have a difficult time seeing past this fiscal quarter let alone the big picture of the experimental economy we’ve called free-market capitalism. Money flows like a river. When the economy becomes stagnant we must clear out the damn and make sure the tributaries have enough to replenish the source. That’s the only way everything gets what it needs to grow.
I’m conflicted about all of this though. I went to culinary school to feed people honest food, not elaborate desserts. However I found recipes utilizing a mixer featuring sugar as one of the main ingredients made me happier than wielding a giant knife and lighting things on fire.
This leads to the conflict of how do I fill my desire to have the OWEE model but in bakery form. I thought maybe doing a project that provides birthday cakes to children who otherwise wouldn’t have one. On one hand I want to give people the opportunity to eat real food that isn’t part of the nutritionally void government subsidized diet. On the other hand I’d really rather make desserts that will probably give someone a coronary. Oopse.
I also only want to work with women. I’m not going to berate you with depressing statistics. It’s a fact that women occupy the majority of people effected by job insecurity, fair pay, disability/abuse, and are expected to not only work for less while raising children to be upstanding citizens but to do it below the poverty line. I’m sorry not for citing but it is also proven that when women are given control of their financial security they invest in maintaining the environment around them and use their wealth to secure the future success of their livelihoods.
I’ve always wanted to be part of the movement that is helping transition towns towards a secure local economy. I feel helpless that I may never be financially able to control my life and not bring my vision to fruition.
I would like to spend more time volunteering but it’s important for me to be focusing on developing my own skills. Where do we begin?