At the Santa Clara Central Park Library on December 8, attendees of a bread making class learned that they can have their bread and eat it too. They also learned the science and process behind making delicious bread, without any kneading required, and using only four ingredients- flour, water, yeast, and salt.
“The purpose of the Sustainable U program is to connect people back to a simpler way of living,” says Angela Ocana, Sustainable U coordinator and lead instructor of the bread-making class. “The goal is to create awareness, inspiration, and access to a sustainable lifestyle.”
Ocana explained how the bread making class was connected to the theme of sustainability by pointing out that grocery store bread often comes with 20 or more ingredients, most of which are preservatives. The bread made in this class contained only four ingredients.
“So this class promotes minimal, simplistic living, and being more aware of what we put into ourselves,” Ocana says.
“I know a fair amount about sustainable living,” says Vicki, an attendee who baked her bread for dinner. “This workshop makes me excited to know there are others who are into this movement.”
Not only did the class offer the chance for participants to learn about sustainable living, they learned how to accomplish a culinary creation. Manish Agarwal brought his seven year-old son, Krish, to the workshop for a father-and-son afternoon, where the two enjoyed themselves while working with their dough.
“I want to learn how to make bread, and I asked my son if he wanted to come because he loves cooking,” Agarwal says.
The class ended with a bread tasting for students, who nibbled on bacon and cheddar bread and whole wheat bread.
“[The Sustainable U program] was supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian,” says Ocana.
Ongoing Sustainable U programs include a community supported agriculture (CSA) program and a seed library.
“The library works with a co-op of farmers in the Central Valley, and our co-op is called Eating with the Seasons,” Ocana says. “This allows patrons to purchase farm-fresh organic foods and have them dropped off at the library for pick-up. The goal of this is to connect our library patrons with farm-fresh food and give them the chance to support local agriculture.”
“We have gotten donations from four different seed distributors and just launched a seed library,” Ocana continues. “The goal is to promote awareness on the importance of seeds. There is literally a catalog of seeds next to the reference desk. You take your seeds home, and you grow it. It’s not mandatory, but we’re hoping people will learn how to save their seeds, and return those back to the library. We set aside a special collection of books on growing, and we offer a master gardener’s hotline [if you need help].”
For updates and information about future Sustainble U programs and workshops, visit http://library.santaclaraca.gov and look for “Sustainable U” under the Research/Resources heading.