BREAD is one of those foods which is easy to take for granted, but this staple is at the focus of a quality and provenance campaign highlighted during this Real Bread Week.

There are calls for changes to the labelling on the breads we find in supermarkets. These highly processed breads are implicated in the growing number of Scots who are obese and increasing rates of type 2 diabetes.

Sustain is the group championing the Real Bread Campaign, raising awareness of the health benefits of genuinely fresh bread made without additives.

Sustain co-founder Andrew Whitley (below) is also the driving force behind Scotland the Bread, the real bread movement in Scotland. He works with farms, mills, and bakers across the nation to bring us high-quality bread using techniques and grains our forebears would recognise. This isn’t about nostalgia, the science behind delicious bread makes a compelling argument.

The National:

“Eating better grains means we feel full on less, and it is better for you. Fewer slices of more nutrient-dense bread takes pressure off belts, budgets, and the biosphere,” Whitley explains. Real bread can be unleavened, such as chapatis, and it can be made using baker’s yeast, but there is a growing trend for natural yeast – which Andrew is enthusiastic about.

“Sourdough is the way our ancestors made bread for millennia. It’s not complicated, it just needs good grains and time,” he says.

The rise of the artisanal loaf is not without controversy. Sustain’s Honest Crust campaign is putting pressure on the Westminster Government – which controls food labelling across the UK – to come up with legal definitions for the breads being sold on our shelves.

Names such as “farmhouse” and “craft” loaves create an illusion of traditional baking methods, and clever additives can create a “fauxdough” which is hard to tell from real sourdough.

READ MORE: SNP pledge ‘Sustainably Scottish’ branding to champion food and drink globally

But how can we democratise access to healthy “slow” food when one artisanal croissant can cost the equivalent of a family’s bread budget for a week? Granton Community Gardeners in Edinburgh were determined to find a way. They took part in Scotland the Bread’s Soil To Slice project, filling corner plots in Pilton with organic grain from Fife-based Balcaskie Farm. From that, a remarkable idea grew.

Development manager Tom Kirby explains: “The project has caught the imagination of the gardeners and the community. The first day we harvested the crop, we were walking down Wardieburn Road with bundles of wheat in our arms. People were stopping their cars to ask what we were doing.”

Using a thresher and a mill made available through Scotland the Bread, the gardeners found themselves with 45kg of high-quality flour in their first year, enough to make 100 small loaves.

That got them thinking: what if delicious fresh bread could be available to everyone, regardless of the money they had? So the gardeners opened a bakery selling organic sourdough loaves on a “pay what you can” basis.

“It is a bit tricky,” Kirby admits. “We’re employing a baker, we’re making the bread as nutritious as possible, we’re using expensive organic flour – and we’re trying to make the bread accessible to everyone. We just about break even. There are some people who pay more than they need to which does help subsidise those who aren’t able to pay much at all. ‘Pay what you can’ is a philosophy which can take a bit of time for folk to get used to, but it really works.”

Kirby points to the Solidarity Flour available to buy on the Scotland the Bread website as another example of how people can “pay it forward”. The flour donated is sent out to community bakeries such as the one in Granton.

“What if we all worked together to grow and eat food, pooling our resources? That’s what grows healthy communities,” Kirby says.

What if we did it for ourselves, for our communities? Perhaps it is time for Scotland to rise?

Ruth Watson is the founder of the Keep Scotland the Brand campaign