• Condensed by Lynda Kiernan-Stone

Northeast Grainshed Alliance is Working to Build a New Breadbasket in the U.S. Northeast

The Northeast Grainshed Alliance is working to reinstate what was once in existence - localized systems and networks for grain farmers, artisan bakers, brewers, distilleries, and millers in the U.S. Northeast region.

Currently at 109 members, the alliance continues to grow and is aiming to drive an increase in demand for Northeast grains by network building, collaborating, and educating consumers on the value of regional grains.

Before the Industrial Revolution, every regional community had its own grain supply, but as grain production moved westward, grain became a commodity. As of 2014 only 5 percent of the grain consumed in New England was grown in the Northeast. The Grainshed, which covers New England, New York, and New Jersey, is working to not only bring back grain supply chains to the Northeast, but to promote more nutritious, heirloom, and craft grain varieties.

One case example - as much as 99 percent of the malt used in U.S. breweries is sourced from large scale commercial malthouses located in western U.S. states. But three brothers growing potatoes in Maine decided to diversify their farm by growing craft barley and building a malthouse to supply local breweries with malted barley. The response was so strong that in four years their malting operation is running at five times its original capacity, and Allagash Brewing Company has pledged to use one million pounds of local grain by 2021.

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