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Kitchen Table Talks: Building a Regional Grain Economy
Oliveto
Oakland, CA
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Event

Kitchen Table Talks: Building a Regional Grain Economy
Sunday June 17, 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Kitchen Table Talks: Building a Regional Grain Economy
Location: Oliveto Restaurant (5665 College Avenue, Oakland, CA)
$10
Note: A limited amount of sliding scale tickets may be available at the door, dependent upon capacity.

Join us for the next Kitchen Table Talks at Oliveto Restaurant in Oakland as we discuss the local grain economy in California from the economic, infrastructural and public health perspectives.

Panelists
Bob Klein has been a broadcast television producer, executive producer, national program consultant, and developer/syndicator.  He's currently co-owner of Oliveto Restaurant and founder of Community Grains.

Craig Pondsford is founder of Artisan Bakery, winner of the Specialty Breads category of France's 1996 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie (an international, invitational, artisan baking competition held in Parish every three to four years).  He recently opened Pondsford's Place Bakery & Innovation Center in San Rafael, CA.

Doug Mosel, founder of the Mendocino Grain Project, grows a variety of grains and lentils in the Ukiah Valley.  Whole grains and stone-milled flour are distributed locally through a CSA-style grain-share.  Doug is a member of the Mendocino Organic Network and host of a monthly radio show, the "Agriculture and Ecology Hour."

About the topic
When trying to buy local fruits, vegetables and meat, we don't have to look much further than a nearby farmers market or community supported agriculture share. Though when walking down the rows of stalls at the farmers market, whole wheat flour does not fall in among the regular seasonal offerings of strawberries, figs and leafy greens. For a large part, the underlying reason lies in the industrialization of wheat production, which started in the 1880s with the advent of the steam roller mill. This large-scale mill turned out a cheap shelf-stable flour which essentially crippled regional grain markets. But as we begin to realize the detrimental economic and nutritional effects of the transformation of wheat to a commodity crop, regional grain economies are beginning to regrow across the country.

To take one step back, when talking about grains, we are referring to starch-rich hard seeds which grow on cereal grasses. Common grains include not only wheat, but also maize, rice, barley, oats, rye and more. The anatomy of a grain consists of three parts: endosperm (starch), bran (fiber and fatty acids), and germ (fatty acids, nutrients and proteins). When processed, industrially grains are stripped of their bran and germ, leaving only the endosperm. The resulting processed grain lacks fatty acids, which prevents rancidity and allows for long-term storage, but it also lacks the core its nutritional value: fiber, proteins and other vitamins/nutrients. Whole grains contain the same proportions of the bran, germ and endosperm as the grain pre-processing; so whether cracked, split or ground they maintain natural nutritional value of the harvested grain. The health benefits of a diet rich in whole grains has been documented to decrease blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Sparked by these alarming public health implications combined with a hike in the price of grains on the global commodity market in 2008, regional grain economies have been developing in the past five years. These regional grain economies create the necessary infrastructure grow, process and sell grains at a smaller scale and keep profits local communities. Some involved parties include farmers, millers, distributors and bakers. Groundbreaking efforts to build these networks across the country include: Community Grains in the San Francisco Bay Area, Somerset Economic Development Corp. in central Maine, North Carolina Organic Bread Flour Project in Asheville, NC, and Northeast Organic Wheat in upstate New York. Many of these efforts focus on regional grain varietals, community education, regional economic growth and job creation.

Kitchen Table Talks is a joint venture of Civil Eats and 18 Reasons, a non-profit that promotes conversation between its San Francisco Mission neighborhood and the people who feed them. Space is limited, so please RSVP. Seasonal snacks and refreshments generously provided by Bi-Rite Market and Shoe Shine Wine. This month our conversation is being generously hosted by Oliveto Restaurant.

Discussion

Location

Oliveto (View)
5665 College Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618
United States


Categories

Food > Food

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!

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