Who We are
Noble Grain Alliance was founded September 2016 by Mona Esposito and Kelly Whitaker in response to the absence of locally grown heritage grain varieties and the infrastructure to support a local grain economy. These heritage grains are both more flavorful and more nutritious than modern varieties and are sustainably grown thereby improving both our health and environment. Our goal is to re-introduce the production cycle or "grain chain" that was once an integral part of our local food system.
Noble Grain Alliance is focused on supporting and engaging all the stakeholders in a local food chain- in this case a grain chain- from seed saver to grower to miller to end user. Until recently, the grain movement had been mostly left behind in the local food movement. The re-localization of a grain economy and a return to pre-industrial varieties of grain as well as the agricultural practices that go along with it will support small scale farmers and the community they serve on many levels. Grain growing- particularly heritage and ancient wheats- encourages environmental sustainability (augments farm diversity, boosts biodiversity and sustainable agricultural practices) and produces a product high in nutritional value.
The first link in this chain is the seed and the farmer. We are developing relationships with farmers to provide support through seed trials, equipment resources, marketing opportunities and community building. At the same time we are working to educate and connect growers, processors, millers, end-users such as bakers, chefs, brewers, distillers and the local community. Above all we are committed to providing access to whole food- rich in flavor and nutrition. The re localization of grains, which are a key component of our diet, will help boost diversification on farms, promote healthy diets, build local economy and support a community’s food resilience strategy. On an overarching level it builds community and connections around food literacy and cultural preservation.
We believe there is a great need for a return to the flavor and nutrition found in heritage and ancient grains particularly in response to the rise of modern wheat related allergies and diseases. There is a huge gap in supplies in Colorado. Paired with a great enthusiasm and consumer demand in our community and beyond we are poised to be changemakers in the grain revolution.
What we Do
Noble Grain Alliance provided the support and seed to trial 16 acres of 6 heritage wheat varieties on 5 organic farms- Cure Farm, Isabelle Farm, Aspen Moon, Black Cat and Full Circle in Boulder County. Several growers plan to join the project this fall including Pachamama Farm and John Ellis, while our current farmers intend to participate in the project again this fall to continue to increase seed stock and evaluate which grains are best suited for our region. We are working to build the processing infrastructure necessary to meet the demands of an increased local grain supply as well as to build a market for heritage grains grown and milled in Colorado.
We are inspired by the models in other states such as The California Grain Campaign which has as its objective for all California farmers' market vendors of baked goods to use of 20% locally -grown whole grain in their products by 2020. We are developing educational materials for outreach to the community via farmers’ markets, school programs, restaurants and bakeries. These materials would include the history and "story" of grain, the health benefits of eating whole, fresh milled, heritage grains and information on how best to prepare grains including addressing some of the health issues we are currently experiencing with gluten and modern wheats.
2017 was our first successful harvest of Turkey Red, Sonoran White, Spelt and Red Fife.
In the fall of 2017 our growers saved seed, replanted varieties and shared seed with other growers to continue to build seed stock and trial these grains on a long term basis.
In the spring of 2018 we plan to add more growers to the network and continue to trial varieties.
We continue to address the infrastructure and to work toward shared resources and access.
Are you a farmer, miller, chef, or some one who wants to be a part of the grain chain? Contact us with your story, requests, or ideas to get involved and contribute.