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The Project

Helping local farmers produce high-quality organic bread wheat for our region’s millers and bakers.

Growing demand for local organic food has inspired new efforts to revive a staple element of the New England food system … bread.

Millers and bakers, however, cannot find enough locally grown organic wheat, and that which is available often does not meet the higher quality standards for bread production. Supplying this expanding market for organic bread wheat represents a significant opportunity for our region’s farmers.

Our group of 10 researchers and extension educators were recently awarded a $1.3 million grant from the USDA to increase farmers’ capacity to produce high-quality organic bread wheat. In partnership with local farmers, millers, and bakers, we will work on three main initiatives over the next four years: photo by Jim Amaral, Borealis Breads

bread

Photo by Jim Amaral, Borealis Breads

Research:

  • Identify wheat varieties suited for organic production in our region for yield, quality, and taste
  • Develop fertility strategies for high-quality grain
  • Evaluate innovative weed management systems

Tools for Farmers:

  • Region-specific production guide
  • Interactive enterprises budgets to evaluate the profitability and risk of growing bread wheat
  • Online resources (videos, budgets, bulletins)

Networking and Education:

  • Northern Grain Growers Association support
  • Farmer exchanges to areas with established local bread wheat systems in Quebec & Denmark
  • Regional workshops and local field days

Project partners include:

University of Maine; University of Vermont Extension, Cultivating Healthy Communities

USDA United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service

 Maine Grains Alliance, Northern Grain Growers Association, Aurora Mill and Farms, Butterworks Farm, Borealis Breads, The King Arthur Flour Company, Wood Prairie Farm, Red Hen Baking Company, Naga Bakehouse

For more information please contact:

Ellen Mallory in Maine or Heather Darby in Vermont