Monthly Archives: August 2012

Community Wheat Conversation Begins

August 6, 2012

As you drive around the Treasure Valley, you might see wheat being harvested right now. This area grows a lot of wheat, over 100,000 acres of it. That’s about 156 square miles, or if you’re driving from Boise to Weiser, a square mile on both sides of the highway in wheat. We can grow a lot of it, but we don’t eat it—there’s no flour mill. We don’t know much about wheat and how it plays into a local food system, but it’s likely that the wheat that’s grown here is of just a very few varieties, selected to meet the needs of the export market, or sent to flour mills out of state, or fed to livestock. We know that the flour that we consume has been stripped of nutrient and is produced by a handful of corporations. In contrast, as late as 1953 there were 5 flour mills here, offering farmers, bakers, and eaters a variety of options. We also know that wheat flour is a big part of our diet, about 137 pounds each year. How do we rebuild a regional wheat economy? There’s surprising interest and promising beginnings, but, as you might imagine, much to rebuild…

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