In response to the growing urgency of the climate crisis, New York’s Bread Alone bakery became the first commercial bakery in the U.S. to operate on 100% renewable energy. They recently unveiled a $4 million net-zero facility. 

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An interior seating area has tables along a window and multiple chairs and tables within the center of the room

In 1983, Bread Alone opened its doors in Boiceville, New York to serve the community as a values-driven enterprise. The reopening of the company’s Boiceville Bakery and Café is its revitalization. Moreover, the location reopened as an 8,000 square-foot, net-zero energy facility that operates on zero fossil fuels. The facility will serve as a commercial bakery and café. It will also supply Bread Alone’s four Hudson Valley cafes and its New York City farmer’s markets. 

Related: This human-powered bakery can provide bread for 150 summer campers a day

A wood wall contains plush striped seating with wooden chairs on the other side of it

Moreover, a combination of strategies achieved the resulting net zero. A 366 kilowatt on-site solar array allows the bakery to renewably produce all energy on-site consumed. Furthermore, the solar power will power the fully electrified building. It is equipped with Heuft electric ovens, induction stovetops, air source heat pumps and engineered air flow. The Boiceville bakery will also bake breads in the original Andre Lefort wood-fired brick ovens, fueled by renewable scrap wood. 

Brick-clad wall for the bread ovens

“The planet is warming and the consequences are real, especially for the least fortunate among us,” said Nels Leader, chief executive officer and founding family member of Bread Alone. “This net-zero, carbon neutral project is a response to the call for action, and we hope it is an inspiration to others to take actions of their own.”

A women wearing a blue mask pulls bread out of a bread oven on a wooden paddle

Furthermore, the bakery plans to prioritize environmental stewardship in every step of their decision making. Bread Alone installed solar panels on its Kingston Headquarters. It is a partnership with 1% for the Planet and Climate Reality Project. The company has become Certified Climate Neutral.

Interior of Bread Alone bakery has a centerpiece of baskets

“Bread Alone has committed to the simple but ambitious purpose of creating equity for our people and minimizing harm to the planet,” Leader said. “This project is an exciting milestone in pursuit of our purpose.” 

Three loaves of bread lined on a wooden paddle

Additionally, Bread Alone was founded with the mission of connecting to land and nature as well as the local Catskills community. The Boiceville location will bake with grain that is grown and milled in the region. It will also cook with ingredients from regional producers. Their Kingston Headquarters will continue to produce organic breads for wholesale distribution across the northeast region.

A woman wearing a blue mask sprinkles flour into six bowls

“Serving our guests healthy food was baked into our mission from the start,” said Sharon Burns-Leader, chief operating officer of Bread Alone. “Boiceville was once our proving ground and is now our North Star — we are thrilled to serve the world a slice of what we believe to be our collective future and we invite everyone to join us.”

+ Bread Alone

Images via Bread Alone and James Chororos