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Community Spotlight: Barrio Bread Seeks to Expand

With the support of community members and a USDA grant, Tucson’s Community Supported Baker is about to outgrow his garage.

January 5, 2016

Community Spotlight

If you’ve eaten at The Coronet or Maynard’s Kitchen, picked up a loaf at the Tucson CSA, or know someone who knows Don Guerra, there’s a good chance that you’ve eaten some of Guerra’s Barrio Bread.

The prolific baker’s bread can also be found at Good Oak Bar, R Bar, the Plaza Palomino Farmer’s MarketRiver Road Gardens and the Tucson Waldorf School, as well as at several local schools in Tucson. Megan Kimble wrote a feature piece about Barrio Bread for our March/April 2015 issue, highlighting the feat that is Guerra’s artisan bakery:

The current home of Barrio Bread, in Guerra's two car garage. With help from his community fundraiser and a USDA grant, Guerra will be moving the bakery to a larger location later this year.

The current home of Barrio Bread, in Guerra’s two car garage. With help from his community fundraiser and a USDA grant, Guerra will be moving the bakery to a larger location later this year. (Photo from Guerra’s Facebook page.)

“He spends 70 hours a week baking bread in a two-car garage-turned-bakery. His process is slow—the life cycle of a loaf is 24 hours—but his work is quick. He mixes flour into dough, shapes dough into loaf, bakes loaf into bread—time after time, 750 loaves a week. He has the build of an endurance athlete and baking 750 loaves a week—alone—is an endurance sport.”

Guerra founded Barrio Bread in 2009 as a side business to his teaching job, but his baking was met with such enthusiasm and community support that it grew into a full time job. Now Barrio Bread is set to grow again, with help from a USDA local food promotion grant, and as when he started the business selling loaves from the trunk of his car, Guerra is turning to his community for support. While the funds from the USDA grant go a long way toward making Barrio Bread’s expansion possible, Guerra hopes to raise an additional $75,000 in order to cover the increase in his overhead costs.

Thirty days into the fundraiser, the Barrio Bread GoFundMe is nearing the $8,000 mark, thanks to just over 100 individual donations. The fundraiser’s page is peppered with comments from well wishers and Barrio Bread supporters, hinting at the community of bread lovers inspired by Guerra’s work.

What do supporters stand to gain by donating to the cause? In addition to increasing the availability of Barrio Bread,Guerra says that expanding his bakery will allow him to continue his work supporting a viable, healthy, and locally sourced grain economy, while also supporting an increased focus on local education and his Bread Without Borders project. In the end, he sees the expansion as an opportunity for further community building: “I like to think that all of you will share a little piece of the new oven that is used to bake your bread, just like the age old tradition of the community oven located in the heart of many villages. Barrio Bread will always be devoted to the community it serves, as well as, the larger community of bakers and bread lovers around the world.”

The Barrio Bread GoFundMe fundraiser is ongoing. If you are interested in supporting Barrio Bread’s expansion and Tucson’s own Community Supported Baker, learn more on the Barrio Bread website and consider making a donation through the Barrio Bread GoFundMe:

Making Sourdough With Don Guerra

Want to see Guerra’s extensive baking knowledge in action? I interviewed him on the finer points of sourdough starter – and why mine wasn’t working right – after the class he offered at Hayden Flour Mills late last year. Take a look!

Learn more on Barrio Bread’s website or donate through the Barrio Bread GoFundMe page:

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