Revitalizing the Northeast Grainshed: Cultivating the Value Chain and Stakeholder Engagement
Time: Friday, 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Moderator: Jackie Bach, Procurement Manager, Greenmarket Co., GrowNYC
Jackie Bach, Procurement Manager, Greenmarket Co., GrowNYC
June Russell, Director, Greenmarket Regional Grains Project
Thor Oeschner, Founder, Farmer Ground Flour
Lynn Loflin, Teaching Kitchen Chef, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
Key Words: Regional Grains, Local Wholesale Distribution, Multi-stakeholder Engagement
For over 10 years, GrowNYC’s Greenmarket Regional Grains Project (GRGP) has engaged stakeholders across the value chain to develop a Northeast regional grains economy. The growing Northeast grainshed creates new markets for farmers and serves consumers more healthful foods, while increasing crop diversity and improving soil health. The establishment of Greenmarket Co., GrowNYC’s local food distribution program, supports wider distribution of Northeast grains throughout New York City. In addition to providing wholesale distribution, Greenmarket Co. supported the development of the Greenmarket Grainstand, which sold over 80 regional and heritage grain products directly to consumers last year. The combination of GRGP’s expertise in marketing local grains, Greenmarket Co.’s wholesale infrastructure, and strategic partnerships with educators and capacity builders has grown a market that benefits stakeholders across the spectrum: farmers, processors, institutions, professional chefs, artisan bakers, and home cooks in communities across NYC.
The symposium session will consist of a 45-minute presentation that shares the story, best practices, and challenges experienced over the past 10 years as GrowNYC and partners have worked together to revitalize the Northeast grain economy and make local grains available in NYC. June Russell, Director of the Greenmarket Regional Grains Project and recipient of Slow Food’s 2017 Snailblazer award, and Thor Oeschner, founder of Farmer Ground Flour, will describe early work to test small grain crops, create product lines, and devise marketing plans. Next, Jackie Bach, Greenmarket Co. Procurement Manager, and Lynn Loflin, Teaching Kitchen Chef at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, will discuss how food hub infrastructure makes local grains more widely available in the NYC wholesale marketplace. Following this presentation, each presenter will host a breakout group according to their experience – farmers, farmer supporters, grains marketers, food hub operators, and community-based organizations, allowing participants to ask questions within their fields.