The origins of Community Grains can be traced back to the moment when founder Bob Klein decided his restaurant, Oliveto, needed to source the wheat for its freshly made pasta with the same degree of care it already applied to meat and produce. When his search for a local, sustainably produced flour yielded no results of high enough quality, Bob created the Oliveto Grain Project, which brought together bakers, farmers, plant breeders, scientists and food activists to help create the foundation for a robust local grain economy. Community Grains emerged as a solution to sourcing local, whole-milled grain. The company works in partnership with grain farmers, a highly advanced whole-grain mill, and a grain-obsessed team to produce incredibly delicious, wholesome food.
As founder of Community Grains and co-owner of Oliveto restaurant in Oakland, Bob has spent the last 6 years working to rebuild our local grain economy in Northern California. Besides being a prominent restaurateur, Bob has been a broadcast executive producer, a national program consultant, and developer/syndicator. He has produced hundreds of television programs including Bay Area Backroads. He is the recipient of the DuPont Columbia Award, the IRIS award, and several Emmys. He takes delight in strengthening his community by connecting people together through good food.
Kate, Operations Manager, hails from Texas and brings years of experience working in food business development and operations to Community Grains. During her previous career as a professional photographer, she completed AmeriCorps service in Appalachian Ohio, which shaped her focus on sustainable, locally sourced foods and their accessibility. She went on to work for an organic flower farm within a business incubator for local food producers and agricultural startups. Becoming part of a community dedicated to organic and sustainable farming and bringing those products to market was transformative for Kate. After a move to California, she landed as Operations Manager for an Italian food importer. The business focused on regional, organic foods with traditional, centuries-old growing practices. She gained a deeper understanding of grain farming and production of finished products through visits to producers in Italy. Kate is excited to bring her experience to support production of local, American food, and has been strengthening the operation of Community Grains since 2018.
Vanessa Pope is an activist, writer, painter, teacher, and chef. She has lived in France, Somaliland, Los Angeles, New York, Princeton, and rural Wisconsin. Vanessa is passionate about sustainability and excited to help promote the important work of Community Grains via sales and marketing — especially the investments in local farmers, methods that protect the land, and support of a vibrant and diverse grain economy. In her other professional work, she recently completed a book about sustainability and runs a non-profit focused on helping cafes and restaurants phase out single-use plastics.
Ivy, The German Shepherd
Ivy is an old dog with a young heart — her spirits are ever buoyant! She only stops smiling when she’s sleeping. Ivy’s job is to greet everyone at the door by jumping on them (she’s just that happy). She also likes to sit (when asked to), find out what we’re eating, and, since she’s spatially challenged, lie in the perfect spot to block the doorway or directly behind or under our seat. She just wants our attention, and we love to give it to her. Her love of food began as a young pup, and it’s still going strong — maybe too strong.