April 20th, 2009 by Admin
On Friday evening Martin and I found ourselves dining on pizza and beer and talking about grain. Farm Folk / City Folk hosted the grain-centred “Weaving Chains” event, which brought together a number of local business people and innovators who work on the local grain issue, and at which we were invited to speak. We were privileged to be there alongside the likes of John McKenzie, from Anita’s Mill in Chilliwack, Robert Giardino of the Vancouver-based Heritage Grains Foundation, and our friend Chris Hergesheimer, an SFU masters student who focused his research on south-western BC’s grain community. In addition to dinner and presentations, Robert had a wide range of heritage grains to show off, as well as small mills; there were bike-powered milling demonstrations; and those who attended could buy some of Chris’ flour – some of the only local flour they’re likely to see until our CSA shares are delivered in the fall.
Sadly the light wasn’t too great, so our pictures from the event are rather poor (you’ll just have to take our word that it was a blast!) For everyone who came, thank you so much — we hope that you enjoyed it as much as we did.
In addition to the event re-cap, I need to tell you about a few more very exciting things:
- The official launch of the Urban Grains CSA: we took advantage of our public platform at Friday’s event to officially announce the launch of the CSA. After many months of planning we are pleased to say that we will be sending out share offers to those signed up on our mailing list beginning this week. We will work through the list in order of sign up, until all 200 shares are taken. If you are on the list and are interested in purchasing a share, watch your inbox. The final reveal of purchasing details including price and amounts of each grain included will be posted here after our first offer has gone out.
- Collaboration with Anita’s Mill: We are pleased to announce that Anita’s will be milling Jim’s wheat into flour after harvest time. Before this week we had yet to confirm that they were able to take “transitional” grain at their certified organic mill. It turns out that organic mills are able to process any type of grain – conventional, organic, biodynamic, whatever – as long as their equipment has been sufficiently cleaned before and after each use. On Friday we had the pleasure of meeting John McKenzie, the owner of Anita’s. He and his wife bought the business from Anita herself in 2005, and have since been learning the many ins and outs of running a mill. We were pleased to hear John express his excitement about his company’s role in our CSA.
- We’re purchasing a grain cleaner: Jim got a lead on a high-quality, compact grain cleaning machine in Manitoba and made an offer to the owner. We were still working out how cleaning would happen, so we’re very excited by this find. In order to purchase the machine every share purchased this year will carry a $10 equipment fee. In this way, the CSA members will collectively raise the money for this expensive piece of equipment. It will be owned by Urban Grains and housed at Jim’s farm. We hope that by bringing it to our region more farmers will be able to have access to the machinery needed to explore grain production, thereby strengthening the local food system.