By Vernice Woodland. The Community Bakery, Inc. was incorporated in Maryland in May 1976 and for a couple of years operated in Hyattsville, MD as the Women’s Community Bakery. In September 1979, the business moved to DC…. 736 7th Street, SE. From 1979 through 1992, the business operated at this address. A two-story building, the bakery was on the first floor where the production and packaging took place, bakery office, employee space on the second floor. The business also had a delivery truck for deliveries.
I have a copy of the application for the occupancy permit… however the signatures of the principals are not legible… the articles of incorporation (not for profit corporation) are on file at DCRA in SW DC, but (of course) DC charges $140.00 for a copy. Am planning to contact the office in MD… for a copy if I am unable to find the founder’s names…
This is one of the few producer cooperatives located in DC at that time…they baked whole-grain breads, rolls, muffins and a few other bakery goods to grocery stores and restaurants. Their major operations were the preparation and baking of the products, packaging and delivery to regular customers. The bakery described itself as a “non-profit, community-owned businesses” – a women’s collective.. community ownership referring to the community of workers. The business also gave surplus products to social service groups including shelters, and a limited retail business with neighborhood residents, particularly those families located in what I think used to be the Carroll and the Arthur Capers (sp?) Housing that used to be located in the M Street SE area as well as the Potomac Gardens and Kentucky Court communities.
The Bakery was the subject of an ethnographic study by Ruth Landman (anthropology, American University)… published in “Creating Community in The City: Cooperatives and Community Gardens in Washington, DC” (Bergin & Garvey, 1993). The study provides detail regarding business operations as well as the collective’s philosophy, decision-making strategies, member interaction, including the weekly meetings designed for not only scheduling, collective business, but also “important arena for building and maintaining the collective, communitarian quality of the business”. However, the principals remain anonymous and I would like to find former members to verify information. There is supposedly a 9-page document exists, somewhere, that describes the business philosophy, operations, expectations, etc.
There is also a collection of Collective recipes published in Uprising by the Cooperative Whole Grain Educational Association.
Interesting group – they closed in 1992, not because of declining business… the principals were tired, wanted to do something else, and couldn’t find anyone to take over the business (that also needs to be verified).
Ruth Landman author of the study is deceased, Fran Heaps, the registered agent for the business is also deceased. I did find a Kim Shipman who was a former volunteer.. am looking for updated contact information for her as well as the business founders.