Organic Grain Collaboration drills down into barriers, proposes solutions

The United States is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of conventionally grown grains. America’s farmers grow and ship out to foreign destinations vast amounts of cereal grains and grain legumes. But the production of organic grains in this country has been slow to take off, even as demand for organic grains has grown to unprecedented levels.

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A Call for Food Movement Cooperation

Mark Winne has 45 years of experience in the food movement, starting in 1971 as a college student when he successfully raised $300 to start a local breakfast program for low-income children. Since that success, he has overseen the Hartford Food System, co-founded the Community Food Security Coalition, serves as a Senior Advisor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Livable Future, and is a popular speaker and author of several books.

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Perspective from a grain farmer-scientist

In an introductory letter to GRAIN BY GRAIN: A Quest to Revive American Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food, Jaime Jennings writes, “You hold in your hands the story of an unsung hero. Bob Quinn is a straight-shooting, small-town farmer who turned his family farm into an organic multimillion dollar heirloom grain company.”

President and Founder of Organic Trade Association member Kamut International, Quinn, who co-authored the book with Liz Carlisle, shares his practical wisdom from a lifetime of farming--and scientific discovery.

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Training organic trainers

Clif Bar and Pipeline Foods are stepping up to spearhead a much-needed program to train agricultural professionals working with organic or transitioning farmers. The project, supported by the Organic Trade Association’s industry-invested organic research, promotion and education GRO programming, is called the Organic Agronomy Training Series (OATS), will launch this spring in the Midwest.

Clif Bar has provided a cornerstone donation of $50,000 for the project, while Pipeline Foods has spearheaded a broad coalition to implement the project.

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Products from rotational crops

In 2018, Organic Grain Collaboration Grain member and organic food company Annie’s unveiled two new products featuring ingredients from rotational crops used in organic grain production. Its “Limited Edition” line features graham crackers made from hard red winter wheat and oats, and macaroni and cheese made with durum wheat and golden peas, and reflects a partnership with two organic farmers in Montana.

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Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions

Food fraud, or the act of defrauding buyers of food or ingredients for economic gain, has plagued the food industry throughout history. Although it is not known conclusively how widespread food fraud is in the United States or worldwide, it is now estimated to be a $50 billion industry for the total food market --about the same size as the entire 2017 U.S. organic market.

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