Taking the metaphor a step further: Donut Bakery

Neighbourhood organisations and citizens collaborating to let the local donut emerge.

Families enjoying music, play and donuts during the Donut Neighbourhood Day

On the 22nd of February 2023 we organised our very first Donut Neighbourhood Day . We started in the afternoon with nice coffee, snacks, music and family activities. Added Donut workshops into the mix, invited everyone to share some food together and closed  with a few panel discussions.

Who is we? And why did we organise this? Read on and find out!

From meetups to movement

In Amsterdam there has been a group of donut enthusiasts from the very first year the book was published. The donut desire motivated us to organise meetups and support the Amsterdam donut movement. We soon discovered that a lot of community action was already aligned with the principles of donut economics. It just wasn't called a Donut initiative. Does this matter? 

Stepping into the Donut with Larissa during the Donut Neighbourhood Day

At first the Donut is usually perceived as just another model, perhaps even something trendy that has its moment in the spotlight but then goes out of fashion. We can make it come to life by going beyond the model and make it a mindset. Then we can truly unlock the added value of the Donut. 

Recipes for a flourishing neighbourhood

Changemakers, that already know the Donut, still have a  need for a better understanding of how it can add value to the good work they are already doing and how to put it into practice. 

We discovered that taking the metaphor a step further with the Donut Bakery provides a respectful, playful and inviting way to connect organisations, citizens, civil servants and entrepreneurs. Respectful because it celebrates the pioneers that have been working on making society more just and green, way before they heard about the Donut. Inviting and playful, because higher participation is necessary to get every voice heard, and to combine the different types of activities and expertise within the holistic, uniting framework of the Donut. 

With the Donut Bakery we can discover and make use of existing recipes, but also work together, using our insights around the common hurdles to find new recipes required to create change on a more systemic level. This sparks strategic and tactical collaboration, without losing sight of creating societal value at the neighbourhood level. 

Thomas (front) discusses the potential of a local currency. Menno (back) plays a serious game on societal value creation during the Donut Neighbourhood Day

Experiments and continuous learning

In 2021 we organised three events to explore the metaphor of the Donut Bakery, the recipes and the existing bakeries. In 2022 we got a modest budget form the municipality of Amsterdam to kickstart three experiments: how to localise the Donut even more on a neighbourhood level, how to set up a Donut fund that recognises and supports the value created by neighbourhood companies and how to organise a co-learning process with citizens, organisations and civil servants to tackle the bottlenecks when confronting the "living" world with the "systems" world and foster holistic policy implementation. 

Paneldiscussion with Menno (Kaskantine), Dick (Eigenwijks), Froukje-Anne (Municipality of Amsterdam) and Zinzi (New Wave Collective) during Donut Neighbourhood Day

Inspired also by the festival in Birmingham, we decided to share our results by organising a Donut Neighbourhood Day and publish our first Donut Bakery newspaper. Keeping it inclusive, fun and as we say in Dutch "gezellig" was instrumental to its success. We managed to reach more citizens, connected changemakers and had meaningful discussions. The day has become a positive and inspiring memory for many local changemakers.

Inspired by Birmingham we created our first edition of the Donut Bakery newspaper

We've discovered there are a lot of Donut Bakers and Donut Bakeries already. To make the neighbourhood a safe, just and inclusive place is a common dream.

All three experiments now have a good foundation on which to continue building. We are currently searching for additional funding, but the beauty of the Donut Bakery coalition is that it is based on strong relationships and trust. The work does not stop, our passion and purpose keeps it alive regardless of the funding, but the funding of course would accelerate the work and help us disseminate it broader. 

Keeping it real

The Donut Bakery is very much about friendship, trust and continuous support for our Donut dreams and initiatives. From left to right: Eva, Marie-Anne, Sumadi, Menno, Zinzi and Larissa.

The elements of Donut Economics certainly are not new, but there's a message that needed repeating and Kate has done this in a beautiful way, giving us a powerful metaphor to help us remember what the main goal is for the 21st century: meeting the needs of all within the planetary boundaries. This might seem like a big and loftly goal, but at the neighbourhood level you can actually sense it, see it, hear it, feel it. At this local level it becomes real.  

Important lessons learned so far are:

  • Put the values that are important to the people and organisations in the neighbourhood first and create your own Donut based on the principles of the "global" Donut model, but with your own language and nuances. 
  • Find your tribe, create coalitions with others working to put the neighbourhood into the Donut. Especially when addressing bottlenecks in the current dominating system, we are more effective when we work together and use the common language of the Donut. 
  • Keep experimenting and learning. Donut economics is a young science and we need to practice first. Think bold but break down your goals into attainable smaller steps or projects. Be comfortable with not knowing and have faith you'll find a way forward. 
  • Look beyond just the Donut and look at all the principles: look at the bigger picture, re-discover your humanity, become savvy with systems, look at opportunities to regenerate as well as to distribute and be agnostic about growth. 

Let's all take on the invitation to become economists. The economy is not a scary thing, we are part of it and we have to reclaim our say in it.

Happy Donut baking!
Read more about us on donutbakkerij.nl

Part of the scavenger hunt for kids during the Donut Neighbourhood Day: go bake a donut!

Visual illustration of the activities and insights of the Donut Neighbourhood Day.




    Hicham El Maaroufi Elidrissi


    Rethink our entire socio-economic reality "glocally" so that a new economy and new social structures can emerge.


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