ALAMOSA — Two San Luis Valley bread makers have created Tomorrow’s Bread, a non-profit bread donation program that will help address food insecurity issues in the Valley.
Tomorrow’s Bread was introduced to the public Friday, Oct. 21, at an event held at Milagro’s Coffee House in Alamosa.
In 2019, Costilla native and Valley resident Jessica Larriva was taking care of her mother during the pandemic when she had an idea. Larriva, the baker and executive director, operates Tumbleweed Bread in Monte Vista along with Operations Director Jake Gefell.
Tumbleweed Bread — in business since 2018 — is a wholesale, for-profit company that has a unique reputation in the Valley for its “bread, the old fashion way.”
Larriva uses only regionally grown whole grains that are then stone ground and naturally leavened as was common in ancestral diets to make bread in a way that preserves nutritional benefits.
Business was going well when the Tumbleweed Bread was first formed and flourished even as the pandemic caused shut downs everywhere.
But it wasn’t a business model that Larriva was thinking of when she had the idea. Larriva, who bakes all the bread herself, was thinking of all the people who were impacted by the pandemic and were not getting the nutritional food that they needed.
In response, she and Gefell launched a community bread donation program through their bakery where, for a $5 donation, people could donate a loaf of healthy, organic, whole wheat bread to local organizations or individuals.
And, the program took off.
“We’ve donated hundreds of pounds of food to our local homeless shelter's kitchen through the kind donations of generous individuals from all across the country, and even beyond,” Larriva said.
A single loaf of Tumbleweed Bread weighs a pound.
Larriva said she became frustrated that she wasn’t providing as much bread to those in need as she wanted to and had no network established to connect with those in need in a broader way.
That led to Larriva and Gefell’s decision to form a non-profit specifically devoted to community bread donations through their for-profit sister organization. Such a move would allow them to access grants, funding and tax-exempt donations to support their mission.
Thanks to grant funding from the Women’s Foundation of Colorado Women and Girls of Color Fund, Larriva and Gefell have now launched Tomorrow’s Bread, a nonprofit that will provide local food banks and, as partnerships evolve, other service organizations with locally sourced and baked bread.
“We estimate — given our current production infrastructure — in our first fully-funded year we will donate nearly 12,000 pounds of local, nourishing, organic food La Puente’s Shelter kitchen and Food Bank System,” Larriva said.
Larriva suggests that is just a start.
She said she “looks forward to the future and seeing what’s possible” providing healthy, nutritious bread to those who may not otherwise have access while investing in the regional economy by using locally grown organic grains as their primary production ingredient.
“It’s a good situation for everyone involved,” she said.
Anyone interested in more information or making a donation can visit the website tomorrowsbread.org.