Community Development Through Pie

A new community kitchen and pie-baking program in small town Alabama is trying to help a struggling and impoverished area rebound.
October 12, 2010, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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"PieLab first began to take shape in March 2009 at a bar in Belfast, where 14 members of Project M gathered over burgers and beer. "We realized that we couldn't solve global warming," recalled Megan Deal, a native of suburban Detroit, who, like most of the other Project M members, was a recent college graduate. "And we couldn't fix the plummeting economy. Before pie came to us, we were kind of paralyzed."

They started out small. Their first foray was Free Pie Day, during which Project M members stood on a Belfast street corner and handed out slices of pecan pie, pumpkin pie and apple pie to passers-by. The idea was to spur community and conversation, one slice at a time. Free Pie Day inspired similar efforts in Washington, Brooklyn and elsewhere. Most important, it inspired PieLab."

The cafe allows community members to come in and bake pies, which founders believe is a good step towards improving community interaction and confidence in Greensboro, Alabama.

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Published on Friday, October 8, 2010 in The New York Times
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