Home Baking Association’s Recipe for Success
“Our mission is simple: to grow the practice of home baking,” says Charlene Patton, executive director of the Topeka, Kansas–based nonprofit organization. The HBA pursues that mission by developing recipes, videos, classroom activities, and lesson plans for teachers and families. It has 38 corporate members—including C&H Sugar—and reaches some 1.5 million consumer educators and more than 25 million students and their households.
Today’s HBA has come a long way since its beginnings in 1923 as the Soft Wheat Millers Association, created to address public concern about chemical additives used in flour. The group developed a quality seal for packaging and bought ad space to reassure shoppers. Ten years later, the group expanded beyond flour millers to include flour blenders; in 1959 the organization became incorporated and changed its name to the Self-Rising Flour and Cornmeal Program, Inc.
In 1989, the group changed its focus and invited ingredient and equipment companies to join. It changed its name to Home Baking Association, Inc., and announced the focus it maintains today: increasing home baking through education.
Charlene Patton, who has degrees in family and consumer sciences and business, came to the HBA more than 10 years ago to join with education program and membership director Sharon Davis, a licensed family and consumer sciences teacher. They work with classroom teachers, after-school centers, and youth groups such as scouting organizations, 4-H clubs, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “We’ll work with any organization that has an interest in home baking!” says Charlene. The HBA has a modest annual budget of $250,000; member dues and in-kind donations, such as sugar from C&H Sugar, help pay for supplies and teaching materials.
Nearly 250,000 viewers visit HBA’s website, a section of which is dedicated to educator resources: lessons, activity plans, kitchen-safety advice, a whimsically designed baking certificate that can be awarded to students. The site includes recipes and a helpful glossary of baking terms, from “absorption” to “zest.” And don’t miss the videos on HBA’s Home Baking Channel, where you can watch experienced bakers make pizza, focaccia, corn bread, and more!
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