If you are writing a story about the Maine Grain Alliance, the Kneading Conference or the Artisan Bread Fair, we can help!  We are happy to provide high-resolution images, information about our history, mission, and programs, and interviews with the fascinating people who are at the helm, steering the movement to restore local grain economies.

Click to read the most recent articles about the Maine Grain Alliance and its programs:
Gourmet
Smithsonian Magazine
Maine Magazine
The New York Times
Gastronomica Magazine
Portland Press Herald

History

In 2007 a small grassroots group in Skowhegan, Maine gathered together novice and professional bakers, farmers, millers, researchers and wood-fired oven builders for a conference on the complementary trades of grain farming, milling, wheat breeding, baking, and wood-fired oven building.  Their goal was to bolster the revival of a lost grain economy.  Held annually ever since, the conference attracts participants from Maine, New England, and most of the U. S. and Canada.   The concept of bringing together the diverse stakeholders whose collective vision and efforts can rebuild regional grain economies is working. It has stimulated a grain farming revival in Maine which in turn has given birth to new, vital start-up businesses.  The challenges to rebuilding regional grain systems are numerous but the Kneading Conference continues to work successfully with other nonprofits, government service agencies, and entrepreneurs to shape solutions.

In 2011, the Kneading Conference expanded to include a third day, the Artisan Bread Fair, free and open to the public.  This was also the year the Kneading Conference incorporated as a nonprofit organization, the Maine Grain Alliance (MGA).  MGA will continue to organize the Conference and the Bread Fair and will expand into year-round programming of educational baking workshops for children and communities.

Also in 2011, the first Kneading Conference West took place in Mount Vernon, WA, attracting about 250 participants arriving from 17 states, and adding a malting track and professional bakers track to the three day schedule of presentations and workshops.

2012 was a big year, too.  The Maine Grain Alliance, with generous grants from the Quimby Family Foundation, The Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, and the Maine Community Foundation, completed renovations on a commercial baking kitchen at the Somerset Grist Mill.  This will be the heart of the Maine Grain and Bread Lab which will begin offering educational baking and grain workshops during the winter of 2013.

Mission

The mission of the Maine Grain Alliance is to preserve and promote grain traditions from earth to hearth.  We provide opportunities to learn and share how best to grow and use grains, using a combination of traditional, innovative, and sustainable techniques.  The Alliance promotes beneficial  uses  of grain for good health, food independence, and purposeful jobs within viable communities.   The Alliance connects people and supports the economic, environmental, and nutritional importance for establishing regional grain economies.

Programs

  • Kneading Conference
  • Maine Artisan Bread Fair
  • Educational Baking Workshops at the Maine Grain and Bread Lab

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