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. Organic farmer Casey Bailey grows all of the wheat and oats for Annie’s Limited Edition Honey Bunny Grahams, and organic farmer Nate Palm-Powell grows the wheat and nitrogen-fixing peas for the Limited Edition Elbow Pasta & Cheddar.
Shauna Sadowski, Senior Manager of Sustainability, Natural & Operating Unit at General Mills, of which Annie’s is an operating unit, says that providing a market for the often lower-value rotational crops is essential to ensuring the continuation and growth of sustainable organic farming, and ultimately for the sustainability of the company that markets organic products.
“As a food company, we know that our biggest sustainability opportunity lies in the products we make and the ingredients we source,” says Sadowski. “Diversity is critical for thriving and regenerative ecosystems, so we decided to incorporate multiple rotational crops from each farmer’s land into these products—wheat and oats for the bunny grahams, and wheat and peas for the mac and cheese. Without a strong market established for each crop within a diverse rotation, farmers do not have the full set of resources they need to advance extended rotations. That’s why, with these products as a proof of concept, we’re exploring additional opportunities to support whole farm rotations.” //