The March 9th Community Grains Conference provided an excellent overview of the importance of smaller-scale, localized, whole grain economies. During the morning panel we learned about the many health benefits whole grains offer and during the afternoon we heard from farmers about how grains help build better soil, help farmers, and strengthen the local community and economy. Speaking to the question of ‘why local?’ Dr. Stephen Jones put it succinctly when he said:
It’s about community. It’s about not exporting our value, right? So it’s creating value within a community and keeping that value there.
Another way to answer this question is to taste the new line of cookies now being offered at all forty Whole Foods Markets in northern California using Community Grains flour. Available in six flavors including Chipster Hipster and Peace, Love, and Oatmeal and sold in 6-packs and individually, these cookies are downright delicious, exceptionally so.
Is it our California-grown, whole grain flour that makes them taste so good? Is it the coconut oil? Is it the chocolate chips? OR, is that the taste of the added value Dr. Jones spoke of, that special something that sets these cookies apart and is rooted in relationship and community? It probably goes without saying that no farinograph or centrifuge or double-blind experiment, or any amount of government funding will ever be able to give a definitive answer to that question. But centuries of empirical evidence was on full display during the bakers panel, where again and again we heard that it is care and love and passion that marks the difference between good and great in baking. When the people growing and milling the wheat and the bakers using the flour are fully invested and recognized as part of an inter-related system, much like the grain itself, the end product tastes better and is better for you and your community.
A special thanks to Whole Foods Market and Matthew Mestemacher, Bakery Coordinator for WF – NorCal and the mastermind behind the whole grain cookie project. From helping to educate customers by inviting us in to each of their stores to speak with team members, to promoting local whole grains right on the side of the box – we are so grateful for the support.