Growing grain and getting it to the table is complicated. It involves the hands that plant the seeds, the water that brings the seed to bear, the soil that protects and nourishes the plant, the workers who bring the harvest in, a place to keep the wheat kernels fresh and clean, and a mill to turn the harvest into flour.
It gets even more complicated when you set forth to produce grain as we do: 100% whole grain, beyond organic, in batches sourced from a single farmer and single harvest. This requires a focus that Community Grains’ founder, Bob Klein, has embodied since the start – and a deeply interconnected community of farmers, millers, and artisans.
Paul Muller of Full Belly Farm. Photo from beefriendlier.com
Farmer Fritz Durst. Photo by the New York Times.
Farmer Al of Frog Hollow Farm.
The vast majority of grains are treated as a commodity, sourced from a number of large farms and blended so that each product tastes and works exactly the same way. These companies aren’t in close communication with local farmers, much less a farmer. They can’t tell you how or where the grain is grown. That’s why you don’t often see locally-grown pastas, breads, baked sweets, and so forth.
When we lose that connection to grain farmers (which we did long ago), we lose the satisfaction of flavorful and nutritious grains, like wheat and corn, grown to nourish. Most people grow up not knowing the farmers who raised their wheat or corn, where the sack of flour in their cupboard came from, and the nutritional quality of what’s in that bag. But now you can.
“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
― Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution
Everything starts with the farmers. We look to them for guidance – about what crops will work best, when to plan our production runs. We’re grateful to them for being active participants in our transparency experiment, sharing with us — and more importantly, amongst themselves — even mundane minutia about soil properties, weather events, and farming techniques that impact the crop.
Our 23 Points of Identity is a way to encompass and acknowledge all that goes into producing good grain – a way to make these details transparent and easily digestible (pun very much intended). By tracking your Community Grains products using the batch #’s on the packaging, you can go on a journey through the production process of your product. It’s thorough, but by no means exhaustive.
We’re thrilled to share what we learn and to bring you along for the ride. By participating in our 23 Points of Identity, and tracking your Community Grains products using the batch #’s on the packaging, you can rest assured that the food on your table was produced with the health of people and planet front of mind. You become an active contributor to the local grain movement.
Many thanks to Chloe List and Hannah Robie for their fantastic illustrations and graphic design of our 23 Points of Identity Instagram campaign.