The Project

Helping local farmers produce high-quality organic bread wheat
for our region's millers and bakers 
 
Growing demand for local organic food has inspired new efforts to revive a staple element of the New England food system ... bread.  

Millers and bakers, however, cannot find enough locally grown organic wheat, and that which is available often does not meet the higher quality standards for bread production.  Supplying this expanding market for organic bread wheat represents a significant opportunity for our region’s farmers.
 
Our group of 10 researchers and extension educators were recently awarded a $1.3 million grant from the USDA to increase farmers’ capacity to produce high-quality organic bread wheat.  In partnership with local farmers, millers, and bakers, we will work on three main initiatives over the next four years:                                                                  photo by Jim Amaral, Borealis Breads

Research: 
- Identify wheat varieties suited for organic production in our region for yield, quality, and taste
- Develop fertility strategies for high-quality grain 
- Evaluate innovative weed management systems 

Tools for Farmers: 

- Region-specific production guide 
- Interactive enterprises budgets to evaluate the profitability and risk of growing bread wheat 
- Online resources (videos, budgets, bulletins) 

Networking and Education: 
- Northern Grain Growers Association support 
- Farmer exchanges to areas with established local bread wheat systems in Quebec & Denmark 
- Regional workshops and local field days

Project partners include:

Maine Grains Alliance, Northern Grain Growers Association, Aurora Mill and Farms, Butterworks Farm, Borealis Breads,
The King Arthur Flour Company, Wood Prairie Farm, Red Hen Baking Company, Naga Bakehouse


For more information please contact:

Ellen Mallory in Maine or Heather Darby in Vermont

This project is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Organic Research and Extension Initiative under Award No. 2009‐01366, “Enhancing farmers’ capacity to produce high quality organic bread wheat.”


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