Kneading Conference Sept. 15-17

There’s a link here and on the right-hand side of this page to a Kneading Conference that is being planned for Mt. Vernon in the Skagit Valley of Washington this September. Here are some details:

The Inaugural Kneading Conference West, September 15, 16, & 17, 2011, in Mt. Vernon, Washington. Kneading Conference West grows out of the successful Maine Kneading Conference that began in Skowhegan in 2007. The focus is on reviving regional grain cultivation and one of the best ways to do this is to encourage a demand for the special flavors and nourishment of grains cultivated and milled as nearby as possible.

The idea for the Kneading Conference began with a group of Skowhegan, Maine residents, including oven builders and bakers, who were motivated by the critical need to address wheat production as an important cornerstone of a growing local food movement.

The first Kneading Conference was held in July of 2007 in the heart of Somerset County, where wheat production fed over 100,000 people annually in the mid 1800′s. With the advent of transcontinental railroads which provided cheap transportation, and the appeal of the rich topsoil and longer growing season of the central plains, grain farming in Maine declined.

Today less than 1% of Maine’s wheat demand is actually grown in Maine. Reviving wheat varieties that succeed in Maine’s climate is not only a realistic goal, but a critical one in light of rising transportation costs and the recognition that food security must rely on local farms.

The aim of the Skagit Valley conference is the same and includes encouraging local wheat farmers to grow wheat for local bread bakers – both professional and amateur.

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