At Almanac, we're working to rebuild a local grain economy, right here in Eastern Ontario.
What do we mean by that?
We believe our stone mill can be a catalyst to empower farmers to grow food for people, right here in our region.
WHERE WE CAME FROM
For centuries, a mill served as a gathering point for community; connecting ordinary people with the land around them. It was the nexus point where a farmer could see the bounty of their fields transformed into food for their neighbours.
In less than the last hundred years this connection point evaporated. Grain growing, like so much of our food system, was centralized. The farmer, once but a step removed from the loaf of bread on their neighbours' table, instead became a miniscule supplier to a massive transnational pool that saw what they grew commoditized and totally disconnected from the people and place where it originated.
The result has been efficiency at the cost of diversity. Corn and soy, often grown with a heavy reliance on chemical fertilizers that deplete the land, replaced a diverse list of grains and cereals adapted over decades to the soils in which they grew.
Farmers who once earned a living feeding their communities were forced to scale, homogenize or shutter. Those still growing grain at all watched the resulting flour, once nutritious, rich and flavourful, replaced with bland, highly processed starch milled in massive, far away factories producing flour so lifeless that eventually the law had to require them to back enrich their flour with additives.
To put it mildly, we got so focused on efficiency that along the way we lost the plot.
WHERE WE GO NOW
Believe it or not, you're already doing your part to change this. Every cookie you buy at Almanac, every loaf you slice into and every muffin you enjoy with your morning coffee is made with flour that passed through our mill stones. Your choice enables us to buy certified organic, Canadian-grown grain increasingly sourced from small family-owned farms right here in Eastern Ontario.
Growers like the Cumpson family at Sonset Farm and Rob and Nate Heuvel grow the Spelt, Rye and Red Fife Wheat that form the backbone of our bakery offering. Partners like Farinella and Corner Peach are fueling the fire by sourcing flour for their own creations, creating more demand for the kind of agriculture that leaves more for the land and small family farms, while delivering a superior product.
To borrow a phrase from Woody Guthrie, our stone mill kills monoculture. With your help, we can grow a regional market for crops that will empower local farmers to step out of the constraints of commodity production and step into growing crops and farming methods that are more ecologically diverse and leave our region and its food supply more economically resilient.
So what's in a loaf of bread? A whole grain economy, it turns out. Thank you for building it with us.