Thursday, December 16, 2010

Some great news and how you can help

We have been awarded a grant!

And not simply the kind of grant that covers feasibility studies or travel or personnel; no, although all of the above have been instrumental along the way, this particular grant we just received (!) is by far the most action-packed in its ability to produce tangible, material, physical results. The grant we just received is from NC Market Ready, a program of the NC Cooperative Extension, and it will pay for HALF the cost of all of our equipment! That means HALF the cost of our mill, bucket elevator, and bolter (as mentioned earlier in this blog, the use of the mill has been gifted to us by the estate of Alan Scott, but with the understanding that we would purchase the mill from the Scott family as soon as we are able), a moisture/test weight meter, sampling probe, bench scale, portable bag sewer and suspension system. The total cost of the equipment is around $36,500, so, in terms of equipment, we are now halfway there!

At the same time Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, the non-profit organization that made our project possible when, back in 2008, director Roland McReynolds called me up out of the blue and said he had heard about the proposal I was working on to organize bakers in WNC to work directly with growers. He said his organization wanted to take on our project—get it funded and see it through. And he did. Roland took what I had written and gave it greater breadth and vision. This was no longer just about a group of bakeries in the western region of the state. This was and is about food security and sustainability and regional food systems. So, (as I was saying), Carolina Farm Stewardship Association was recently approached by an anonymous donor with the challenge that it they raise $50,000 by December 31st, this donor will pledge a matching $50,000 donation. The challenge was made right before CFSA’s 25th annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference (the largest sustainable ag conference in the Southeast), which was last weekend with 900(!) people in attendence. (I was one of the many presenters at the conference.) Thus far, they are 2/3rds of the way toward their goal of $50k by Dec 31st.

So here’s the double bang—donations to CFSA can be earmarked for the NC Organic Bread Flour Project. If you would like to help us raise the other half of our equipment costs, while at the same time help CFSA meet their $50k challenge, this is a really exciting end of the year tax-deductible donation.

And it's easy. Just visit cfsa’s website,, and click on the ‘Donate Now’ button to make a tax deductible donation today. And please indicate (if you feel moved) that the donation be earmarked for the NC Organic Bread Flour Project.

Thanks so much folk.

Truly from the ground up,