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CGI's Leathur: Grain by Grain: Edible Book Review & Regenerative Organic Agriculture Success Story

Posted By: RumorMail
Date: Sunday, 6-Aug-2023 01:40:17
www.rumormill.news/227117

A post submitted by CGI member Leathur.

******************************************

February 21, 2020
By Edible Staff

Growing for Good: What science and King Tut can tell us about ancient grains and a quest to revive healthy food.

In 1971, a UC Davis PhD candidate in plant biochemistry stepped off a bus for a field trip to a central California peach farm. Expecting to inhale the sweet scent of ripening peaches, the student was stunned to smell … nothing at all.

That’s when he noticed his professor and the peach grower discussing a new petroleum-based product the grower was spraying on his peaches. It made the peaches look ripe, even though they were green and not ready to eat. But the rock-hard peaches could be easily shipped across the country without expensive packaging to prevent bruising—and be sold more cheaply to grocery store consumers.

The PhD candidate was Bob Quinn, a fourth-generation wheat farmer from Montana. His experience that day made him wonder what was wrong with modern agriculture and the economy that drove it. He vowed to do things differently when he returned to his family’s wheat farm.

And he did. Quinn used research, trial and error, analysis, patience and just plain hard work to create a highly successful ancient-grain enterprise based completely on organic and regenerative farming. In the process, he became a nationally known advocate for healthier food, revitalized rural communities and food grown without harmful pesticides or other chemicals. And a success story and model for organic farmers and farms, one that offers an alternative to practices that are starving farmers out of the land and livelihood—such as dependence on subsidies, monoculture crops and heavy use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

His journey is recounted in his thought-provoking memoir, Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs and Healthy Food, written with co-author Liz Carlisle. Quinn tells us how a handful of his “Kamut® wheat,” ancient khorasan grains given to him as a kid—and purportedly from King Tut’s tomb—later became the centerpiece of his heirloom grain farm and could possibly be a solution for people with gluten sensitivities. Throughout the book, Quinn shows how organic farming can create good local jobs, reduce chronic illness, put quality back into food and protect the environment.

The book paints a revealing picture of today’s industrial farming model, describing it as a “race to the bottom” of cost-cutting to produce high-yield, cheap food.

“What’s the real cost of cheap food?” Quinn asks.

He answers with sobering facts about the agribusiness model, where farmers are incentivized—and then trapped through government subsidies and Monsanto (Bayer)—into using genetically modified seeds and chemical-laden pesticides and nitrogen-synthesized plant fertilizer to grow the most wheat possible. Pushed by the USDA to plant every acre of a farm with monoculture crops and “get big or get out,” these farming models have crippled farmers and their rural communities and wreaked havoc on our soil and water with shrinking productive farmland.

Nutrition-stripping food processing—like separating the nutritious germ from the wheat kernel—has diminished the value we get from grain products. Diseases like diabetes and obesity have increased. Our food costs may have come down, but our health costs are going up.

Quinn anticipates the arguments that agribusiness makes as to why organic and regenerative farming methods won’t work—organic is too expensive, we need chemical agriculture to feed the world, etc.—and refutes them based on his own success, and the success of the more than a hundred farmers and processors that are part of his ancient-grain enterprise.
Keynote speakers Liz Carlisle and Bob Quinn give attendees a first taste of their new book at the 2019 Hacking Food - Bay Area Sustainable Food & Agriculture Festival.

The book is both a call to action and a hopeful message about how we can put value back in our food and the ecosystem around it. It reminds us all of what’s at stake if farmers, policy makers, nutritionists, scientists and ultimately consumers don’t help shift the conversation to creating a healthy, sustainable food system, and the value of organic and nutritious foods.

“Everyone can be part of this solution,” he writes. “You don’t have to be a farmer or a wealthy consumer. Put just one or two more organically grown items in your shopping cart every time you go to the store. Ask your hospital, your school district, your senior center: Where did that food come from? How was it grown? Are we paying the true cost up front, or are there hidden costs to workers, the environment and the people who eat it?

“It may not seem like a big, dramatic step, but it is through such everyday interactions that we can all set a new standard. For our food. For our treatment of one another and the planet we share. And for the value that gives meaning to it all.”

Changes to our food system can happen–step by step, Grain by Grain. Leave it to the inventive scientist and renaissance organic Kamut wheat farmer Bob Quinn to show us how. And, together with his thought-provoking co-author and researcher Liz Carlisle, to tell us why now.

—Edible Staff Contributors: Barbara Krause, Catherine Nunes, Coline LeConte

About the Authors

The book Grain by Grain was written by two up-and-coming voices in the organic and regenerative farming movement.

In 1971, a UC Davis PhD candidate in plant biochemistry stepped off a bus for a field trip to a central California peach farm. Expecting to inhale the sweet scent of ripening peaches, the student was stunned to smell … nothing at all.

That’s when he noticed his professor and the peach grower discussing a new petroleum-based product the grower was spraying on his peaches. It made the peaches look ripe, even though they were green and not ready to eat. But the rock-hard peaches could be easily shipped across the country without expensive packaging to prevent bruising—and be sold more cheaply to grocery store consumers.

The PhD candidate was Bob Quinn, a fourth-generation wheat farmer from Montana. His experience that day made him wonder what was wrong with modern agriculture and the economy that drove it. He vowed to do things differently when he returned to his family’s wheat farm.

And he did. Quinn used research, trial and error, analysis, patience and just plain hard work to create a highly successful ancient-grain enterprise based completely on organic and regenerative farming. In the process, he became a nationally known advocate for healthier food, revitalized rural communities and food grown without harmful pesticides or other chemicals. And a success story and model for organic farmers and farms, one that offers an alternative to practices that are starving farmers out of the land and livelihood—such as dependence on subsidies, monoculture crops and heavy use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

His journey is recounted in his thought-provoking memoir, Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs and Healthy Food, written with co-author Liz Carlisle. Quinn tells us how a handful of his “Kamut® wheat,” ancient khorasan grains given to him as a kid—and purportedly from King Tut’s tomb—later became the centerpiece of his heirloom grain farm and could possibly be a solution for people with gluten sensitivities. Throughout the book, Quinn shows how organic farming can create good local jobs, reduce chronic illness, put quality back into food and protect the environment.

The book paints a revealing picture of today’s industrial farming model, describing it as a “race to the bottom” of cost-cutting to produce high-yield, cheap food.

“What’s the real cost of cheap food?” Quinn asks.

He answers with sobering facts about the agribusiness model, where farmers are incentivized—and then trapped through government subsidies and Monsanto (Bayer)—into using genetically modified seeds and chemical-laden pesticides and nitrogen-synthesized plant fertilizer to grow the most wheat possible. Pushed by the USDA to plant every acre of a farm with monoculture crops and “get big or get out,” these farming models have crippled farmers and their rural communities and wreaked havoc on our soil and water with shrinking productive farmland.

Nutrition-stripping food processing—like separating the nutritious germ from the wheat kernel—has diminished the value we get from grain products. Diseases like diabetes and obesity have increased. Our food costs may have come down, but our health costs are going up.

Quinn anticipates the arguments that agribusiness makes as to why organic and regenerative farming methods won’t work—organic is too expensive, we need chemical agriculture to feed the world, etc.—and refutes them based on his own success, and the success of the more than a hundred farmers and processors that are part of his ancient-grain enterprise.

The book is both a call to action and a hopeful message about how we can put value back in our food and the ecosystem around it. It reminds us all of what’s at stake if farmers, policy makers, nutritionists, scientists and ultimately consumers don’t help shift the conversation to creating a healthy, sustainable food system, and the value of organic and nutritious foods.

“Everyone can be part of this solution,” he writes. “You don’t have to be a farmer or a wealthy consumer. Put just one or two more organically grown items in your shopping cart every time you go to the store. Ask your hospital, your school district, your senior center: Where did that food come from? How was it grown? Are we paying the true cost up front, or are there hidden costs to workers, the environment and the people who eat it?

“It may not seem like a big, dramatic step, but it is through such everyday interactions that we can all set a new standard. For our food. For our treatment of one another and the planet we share. And for the value that gives meaning to it all.”

CONTINUE READING:




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