Dear bread pals, the letter writing tables are turned!
Please pick up your virtual pen and write a love letter to the USDA about regional flour. Until next Monday, June 21st, the United States Department of Agriculture is seeking comments on food supply chains. This is a rare chance to tell USDA that regional grains matter.
One of the reasons that fresh flour been so slow-growing compared to other local foods is the incredible lack, and expense, of infrastructure; helping the USDA understand that regional grains are key to food security, sustainability and farm viability can help change the pace.
This is a public comment period, and you do not need to be an expert to speak up on behalf of your favorite farmer, miller, baker, & pasta maker -- a few lines stating your feelings will go a long way.
For background, refer to the opinion piece I wrote for Civil Eats, which focused on the millers who rose to the occasion the pandemic presented, and delivered flour as the standard supply chain could not last March and April. Think about the grain farmers who could not take advantage of the surge in demand because they lacked access to cleaning facilities, milling, bagging lines, and distribution channels! Spring 2020 was not the first time the industrialized food supply failed, and it won’t be the last.
As Nan Koehler of Grist & Toll wrote on her excellent blog piece urging participation in this comment period, these special flours are not going to become more affordable on their own. Helping USDA understand the importance of regional flour & grain systems will help expand grain supply chains, and eventually, make fresh flour less rare.
Here’s where you can deliver your comments. Your bread will thank you!