Press release

The Maaleipä Challenge seeks recipes for the future of the soil

Photo: Samy Kramer.

Maa = Finnish for soil, dirt, earth, surface of the Earth, ground, country, land
Leipä = Finnish for bread

The nationwide Maaleipä Challenge invites all home bakers, bakeries, restaurants, schools, and communities in different parts of Finland to develop bread recipes that improve the health of the land, sea, climate, and people. The Maaleipä Challenge puts the spotlight on farmers who care about the diversity of the soil and the environment, as well as on Maaleipä bread makers and Finland’s diverse bread culture.

The Maaleipä Challenge is IHME Helsinki Commission 2024, conceived by award-winning London-based artists Cooking Sections in discussion with Finnish experts. The Challenge is open until 1 September 2024. The best bread recipes created for the Challenge will be awarded prizes at the final event at Teurastamo Kellohalli, Helsinki, on 21 September 2024.

Finland is a land of bread. But what kind of bread would benefit the land, the sea – and us?

Cooking Sections artists Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe hope the Challenge will lead to the creation of new bread recipes that promote soil and gut health. The project is part of their wider framework project CLIMAVORE, which reimagines what we should eat in the new seasons of the climate crisis.

In baking Maaleipä breads, participants are recommended to use heritage and ancient grains (e.g., rye, spelt, emmer wheat, einkorn, oats, barley), nutrient-rich vegetables, seeds, wild plants, nuts and herbs. Participants are advised to explore what is on offer locally, in farms, mills and cooperatives that practice organic or regenerative farming.

Minna Kaljonen, Research Professor at the Finnish Environment Institute, who advised on the development of the project, says:

“The Maaleipä Challenge encourages us all to rethink what bread we eat and how it affects the environment. By focusing only on certain crops, we have lost a lot of the diversity offered, for example, by heritage grains.”

Eliisa Kuusela, a sourdough-bread-culture entrepreneur and member of the Challenge jury, stresses that the Challenge allows bakers to become more aware of the various ingredients, the soil, and its microbiota. The Maaleipä Challenge encapsulates the idea of the shared health between the environment, the soil, and humans, and the contribution that soil diversity makes to our microbiome and immune system.

Detailed rules and instructions for the Challenge:

Further information: Saara Moisio, Communications Planner, IHME Helsinki, +358 45 235 0080,

Press materials, password: maaleipa24


IHME Helsinki is a contemporary art commissioning agency that combines art, science and climate work. We promote the cultural change needed in the environmental crisis. In 2023–2025 our work is being made possible by the Saastamoinen Foundation, Kone Foundation and Abakanowicz Arts and Culture Charitable Foundation.