My Gluten Free Bakery

A MyPlace Social Enterprise Project

My Gluten-Free Bakery is a youth inspired enterprise located in Hendersonville, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The bakery will be operated by at-risk and homeless youth ages 19-22 under supervision of 2 seasoned bakers and a fiscal overseer, MyPlace, Inc. utilizing the famous Greyston best practices model for social entrepreneurship developed by Bernie Glassman, founder of Zen Peacemakers, we don’t hire youth to bake bread, we bake bread to hire youth!

Supporting the Webathon will provide 8 jobs and apprenticeship training.

We have secured a 4,000 square foot building for our bakery, invested in much of the major equipment (used) and have several grocers and a major supermarket chain in the area who have agreed to stock our gluten free bread. We have several proprietary recipes and in 3 taste tests of our first three products: banana nut bread, sandwich bread and scones, samplers were delighted with the quality and taste! We expect to have our state apprenticeship approval and GIG (gluten and allergen free facility) certification in mid-October, 2011.

Profits from My Gluten Free Bread Co. will fund educational housing and future youth enterprises such as our starting mushroom farm and a yurt assemblysub-contract opportunity. We are interested in 21st century conscious living projects. In the past, we have incubated two other youth projects, a bike repair business and vintage clothing shop. We will bake, package and deliver the bread initially to markets within a 50 mile radius as well as study nutrition, basic equipment maintenance, business management and marketing. All employees willreceive production incentives. Participants in the project will work 4-6 hours each day in the bakery. A condition of being able to earn wages is to also take classes to complete high school and if an employee has no where to live, we help locate housing for him/her.

More than 70 youth have lived in the MyPlace residences over the past 3 years.During this time, we created a peer-to-peerenterTRAINment center called Generation Y. We fixed up a worn-out building, started Club Pulse, Drama Ink (a 70 seat black-box theatre), a music program and recording studio, and experimented with other creative projects such as film and broadcasting workshops, evenmaking public service announcements about drugs and bullying. These activities gave disenfranchised youth a voice and ignited creativity. Now, we’re starting our own bread company, a major venture, to be able to support similar projects in the future!