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 been working to rebuild our local grain economy in Northern California since 2009. 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, bringing those products to market, and bolstering the local agriculture economy was transformative for Kate. After returning to California, she landed as Operations Manager for an Italian food importer. The business focused on regional, organic foods and grains 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, California grains and has been strengthening the operation of Community Grains since 2018.
Barbara is Bob’s assistant and helps manage Community Grains’ marketing and communication efforts. She has spent nearly a decade bridging the gap between sustainable growers and consumers. Barbara’s passion has been put to work advocating for undocumented farmworkers, working as a food justice educator, and partnering with small-holder farmers in the global south. She also worked for GrowNYC Grains, where she developed her appetite for regionally-sourced grains. In 2020, Barbara earned a Master’s in sustainable food systems from Cornell University, where she received SARE funding to evaluate federal and state cover crop incentive programs. After living in New York for four years, she is excited to return to her home in the Bay Area and to advance California’s grain economy.
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.