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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Amy Halloran

On Mission to Redefine Bread, Company Seeks Sustainable Solution to Produce Sourdough from Sprouted Grains

September 17, 2013 |

Columbia County Bread and Granola is on a mission to redefine bread. The company is five years old, and exploring ways to make their products and their business as healthy as possible.

For the business, this means trying to find sustainable ways to work and grow. For the bread, this means perfecting a sourdough loaf made from sprouted grains.

“There’s just more and more evidence out there that tolerance to gluten has a lot to do with a fermented sourdough starter,” said founder Doug Michael, who has been pursuing a new route to bread for some time. Read More

Worker Cooperative Embraces Sustainable Agriculture in Every Loaf of Bread Baked

August 22, 2013 |

alvarado street bakeryAlvarado Street Bakery began baking in 1977, and soon afterwards in 1980, incorporated as a worker cooperative. The company’s support of sustainable agriculture practices is directly linked to their foundation as a worker cooperative.

“We don’t want to exploit the environment, exploit workers, or exploit our customers,” said Joseph Tuck, General Coordinator/CEO, who sees sustainability clearest in these terms, of being non-exploitive. Read More

Mission Driven Publisher Seeks to Enact Change; Espouses Sustainable Ag in Print

August 14, 2013 |

CowsSavePlanetChelsea Green has been publishing books “for the politics and practice of sustainable living” since 1984. While such a tag line could easily be seen as green washing, a quick look at their titles shows that this mission-driven publishing house is looking to sell more than words.

Books they publish are helping push forward sustainable agriculture, either on a very functional level, through how-to’s, or in broader terms, supporting the kinds of thinking required to envision and enact change.

A strong seller on their backlist is Elliot Coleman’s The Four Season Harvest. This book led to a lot of winter spinach in the Northeast, and its legacy can be traced to the USDA’s pilot project on high tunnels. Read More

Market Nurtures Relationships with Farmers, Brings More Local Foods to Populace

July 31, 2013 |

healthy living marketWhile local is a buzzword that businesses are trying to seize and use – think of McDonald’s Washington State billboards that bragged about local potatoes – Healthy Living Market gives more than lip service to the term. This independent grocer recently opened a second 35,000 square foot store. Located in Wilton, New York, just north of Saratoga, “Healthy Living Loves Local” is their summer campaign, and also, a part of their mission and practice.

“I was tasked immediately to go find producers who were local,” said Lyndsay Meilleur, general manager at the new location. “I would hang out at farmers markets, and I shamelessly passed out business cards.” Read More

Focus on Rebuilding Regional Grain Economy at Kneading Conference in Maine

July 30, 2013 |
Barak Olins teaches a class on baking with rye at the Kneading Conference.

Barak Olins teaches a class on baking with rye at the Kneading Conference. Photo credit: Amy Halloran.

“We organized the first conference in 6 months around our dining room tables, and 75 people came,” said Amber Lambke, welcoming 250 people at the fairgrounds in Skowhegan, Maine for the 7th Kneading Conference. “We knew we needed to talk about rebuilding a regional grain economy.”

The “we” included masons, bakers, chef, and community members – people who realized that farmers, bakers, millers and oven makers have to talk about their overlapping interests. Read More