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.
Heather Crawford has over 20 years of business expertise and a love for sustainable food system ideas – making her a natural fit for Community Grains. After completing her master’s degree in Economics at CalTech, Heather held leadership roles in IT and business development at healthcare and food companies such as Blue Shield, Healthnet, and Treasury Wine Estates, a global wine company. It was at Treasury that she began to understand the connection between the product, the customer, and the land — a connection whose issues hit closer to home when her son was born. It felt right to her to join Community Grains to help elevate the quality of food for everyone.
Originally from the Boston area, Phoebe moved to California in hopes of eating really good food and working to improve food systems. With a degree in International Studies and French from Middlebury College, she has since worked in digital marketing, executive recruiting, and artisanal baking. Phoebe is a jack-of-all-trades, master of many things at Community Grains assisting Bob directly and managing projects across all functions. She loves learning languages, finding new eateries, and traveling. When in town, she can be spotted biking around the Mission district, cooking elaborate breakfasts, or hiking up north.
Sarah heads up operations at Community Grains. Originally from Ohio, Sarah has 15 years of experience working in product development, production management, and operations. For several years she ran her own health & wellness business, where she taught cooking and yoga to clients and guided them in meal planning and stress management. Sarah has worked on several urban farms in Brooklyn and Oakland, and is passionate about using her skills and experience to run successful operations at Community Grains. She is an avid cook and loves arts and crafts. Sarah lives in Oakland with husband Neal (avid baker) and their dog Tula.
A local of the Bay Area, Leah leads sales and marketing at Community Grains. She is passionate about building Community Grains’ presence nationwide in grocery stores, restaurants, and cafeterias to get more people eating true whole grains. Prior to Community Grains, Leah has a decade of experience working with environmental nonprofits where she developed successful campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of supporting farmers and eating local, healthy foods. When she’s out of the office, Leah heads out to hike, explore, and forage mushrooms, or closer to home, enjoy the scenery in her garden.
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.