The community mourns the loss of Moxie Bread co-owner Andy Clark
Andy Clark, a staple of the local food movement in Colorado, owner of Moxie Bread Co, president of the Colorado Grain Chain and mentor to many, died Monday, November 7. A GoFundMe has been set up to support his wife, Pippa, and their three boys.
Clark launched his small-town bakery and cafe at 641 Main Street in Louisville in 2015 after a career at Whole Foods and Izzio Bakery. It quickly gained a reputation as one of the best bakeries in the state, earning a James Beard Award nomination in 2018. In 2020, it expanded, adding a second bakery in Boulder and a third fore- position in Lyon last year. But Andy’s impact on the community went far beyond his business.
On November 8, as news of his passing spread, crowds of people descended on downtown Louisville Moxie to mourn. Former employees he undoubtedly inspired, friends and family, farmers he had worked with and loyal patrons all reunited in shock. Clark was well known for his philanthropic endeavors and his passion for making some of the best breads and pastries in Colorado.
The Marshall Fire on December 30, 2021 devastated the Louisville and Superior area, leaving many people homeless. It was a dark day for Boulder County, but Clark was a beacon of light. Turning on his mobile oven, he cooked free pizzas for many affected families.
During the pandemic, when it seemed like everyone was trying to become a home baker, the shelves of major grocery stores were empty and flour was impossible to find. But Moxie’s hyper-local supplier model meant it had an abundance of locally grown flour, cornmeal, spelled flour and sourdough. If someone gave you a loaf of bread in Boulder during the pandemic, chances are those ingredients came from Moxie.
For me, this was a pivotal moment for the local food movement. Clark was on to something big. When national supply chains came to a halt, the cracks in our transport-dependent food system immediately became apparent. In creating amazing pastries and breads, Andy highlighted the amazing ingredients straight from our Colorado backyard. He sourced primarily from local farmers and dozens of craft growers across Colorado, and partnered with local heritage crop custodians like the MASA Seed Foundation because he knew the importance of those strong ties. .
While running my own business in Boulder, I approached Clark to see if he would partner with me so I could sell his popular baked goods. My intention was to help as many local producers as possible during the pandemic but, to my surprise, Clark said, “We are doing really, really well…However, I know of a few other amazing bakeries in Denver that are struggling to maintain a solid clientele. I will connect you.
One of the most meaningful things he said to me was, “If a local food system works, we have to stick together. There is no need for sour competition. If another local bakery is successful, I never see that as a problem for my business. It’s customer acceptance of high-quality ingredients and foods that counts.
So instead of associating with me, he put me in touch with Rebel Bread and Reunion Bread Co and then started giving me all of Moxie’s day breads for months to give away for free to my clients. He’s just the kind of person Andy Clark was; someone who has nurtured great relationships with clients, inspiring countless people along the way. So many will miss his jokes, his fight against the erosion of a sense of community, and the wisdom he brought to organizations like the Colorado Grain Chain and Mad Agriculture.
It’s rare these days to see that level of productive passion for something so wholesome. For many, Clark was a huge inspiration for food, philosophy and community. During the sad times of the pandemic, you could walk through various Boulder neighborhoods at sunset and find Clark with his mobile pizza oven, sparking block parties and bonding between neighbors that we desperately needed during those times. isolation, fueled by pies made with her signature dough and sourdough entree.
We will miss the laughs in the kitchen, admire the work he has built, and continue to support his mission of high quality foods with a focus on our community.