All over Europe, a new grain revolution is beginning. Intensive industrial over-production of cereals is costing billions in public subsidy, damaging the biosphere and impoverishing human diets with ever less nutrient dense food. People are coming together to act.
Gluten-intolerance and poor digestibility are two of the many reasons why growing numbers of people spurn the bread on offer. It fails to meet citizens’ nutritional needs and is one of the most distorted parts of a broken food system.
In England, Wales and Scotland there are farmers and cereal scientists who reject the mantra of production for yield and uniformity and are discovering, or re-discovering, the valuable properties of grains for human nutrition using rigorous and participatory research.
At the Oxford Real Farming Conference on 7th January 2016, Anne Parry of the Welsh Grain Forum, Andrew Forbes of Brockwell Bake and Andrew Whitley of Scotland The Bread presented their agro-ecological perspectives to a new grain revolution, whose time has surely come. Each of them is bringing together cereal scientists, farmers, millers and bakers to create a thriving, regional grain economy with the common purposes of health, sustainability and food sovereignty.
The idea for the session at ORFC had come, in part, from the successful Farm to Loaf Symposium at E5 Bakehouse in October 2015. At the end of the it we shared a real bread and cheese lunch.
These were the presenters. Click on a name to see their slides:
Andrew Forbes, founder of Brockwell Bake Association
Andrew has sourced seed from international gene banks, growing out varieties to re-establish low-input wheat cultivation in England. He created the innovative searchable online database The Wheat Gateway and provided the base stock for both the Welsh Grain Forum and Scotland The Bread.
Anne Parry, Felin Ganol Mill, co-founder of the Welsh Grain Forum
Anne trained as a cereal scientist before becoming a traditional miller with her husband Andrew at their restored Felin Ganol Watermill in West Wales. Committed to sustainable food production (and to baking), Anne is a member of the Welsh Grain Forum, a community of grain enthusiasts who are working to develop a thriving regional grain economy.
Andrew Whitley, Bread Matters, co-founder of Scotland The Bread
Baker and teacher, author of Bread Matters and DO Sourdough, Andrew co-founded the UK’s Real Bread Campaign. His quest to grow nutritious grain and develop community-scale breadmaking brings scientists together with farmers, millers, bakers and citizens to recreate a home grown grain and bread supply in Scotland.