Winter Grain Bundle CSA

Large scale agricultural systems don’t always “work” for farmers.  This is especially true for those trying to make a go of it on smaller areas of land, those who are experimenting with rotations that build up soil quality and nutrients without chemical applications, or who are trying out new crops.  Farmers usually need a full semi-truck load (around 40,000 pounds!!!) before a grain buyer will bother looking at it, so if a farmer harvests a smaller quantity there’s often nowhere for it to go.  Sometimes this means that perfectly good food crops are fed to livestock or left in the corner of a grain bin until the following year, and usually results in no income for the farmer who grew it.  This system also means that food grown in a particular area doesn’t stay there.  In order to get processed it needs to travel half-way around the country and then back again before it makes its way to your dinner plate.

 

 

We wanted to help out in some way, and this winter we’ve decided to give it a whirl.  We’ll be using our seed cleaning and milling facility to round up bits and pieces of “leftover” crops.  Food that is wonderfully nutritious, organically grown, and lovingly tended, but because of logistics, can’t be sold into the conventional market.  They will be gathered up from around the province, cleaned (this is the process of getting rid of the weeds, straw, stones, and miscellany that comes along with harvested crops), minimally packaged (who’s up for bringing that pile of ice cream pails and mason jars from the closet?), and distributed via a one-time drop-off in Winnipeg in January 2019.

 

We’ve called our concept a CSA, or “Community Supported Agriculture”.  You’re probably more familiar with this concept in the summer, where you buy a “share” of a small scale market garden, and then receive a weekly package of veg, representing a portion of what the farmers grew that week.  Although our winter grain bundle is a bit different (only one pick up to last you the winter, a set list of products, purchasing a share after the crop is harvested, etc.) it shares some key concepts.  By purchasing a share, you are making it possible for small-scale organic farmers around the province to take risks, to try new crops, new rotations, incubate value-added ventures, and know that there is a local market for what they are growing.  We will make sure that you receive fair value for your share (we won’t dump 20 lbs of flax in your lap for you to chew through), but we won’t commit to exact quantities until the crop round-up is complete.  If there’s only two hundred pounds of hemp seed available and 100 people sign up, you’ll all get 2 lbs.  If 200 people sign up everyone will get 1 lb of hemp seeds and we’ll search around to find something else to fatten up the bundle.  This is essential to the meaning of Community Supported Agriculture:  eating what is locally abundant and available, reducing food waste and system inefficiencies, and connecting local farmers to the people around them.

 

If you are interested in seeing your food dollars go directly to farmers, if you want to support experimental and regenerative agricultural practices and small scale organic production, consider purchasing a winter grain bundle.

This is just a preliminary idea of the products that will be available in a winter grain bundle:

Organic Lentils

Organic Flax

Organic Yellow Peas

Organic Naked Oats

Organic Quinoa

Organic Hemp Seeds

Organic Wild Rice

Organic Cold-pressed oil (camelina and/or sunflower)

Organic Black Turtle Beans

Organic Buckwheat Flour

 

Organic Whole Wheat Flour *

Organic Spelt Flour *

Maybe even some organic Emmer Wheat – an ancient grain hulled wheat, somewhat similar to spelt*

 

 

*All products will be processed in a dedicated gluten free facility, with the exception of optional wheat-like add-ons, which will be processed and packaged off-site eliminate cross-contamination.

 

 

If you’re interested in learning more, please sign up for our Winter Grain Bundle Newsletter.  We’ll make sure we send you details as soon as they are available.   Knowing how much interest there is in this idea will also help us to start making guesses on how much food we can start rounding up!

 


 

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