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Kneading Conference

Learn. Collaborate. Grow. Celebrate.

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“If you love bread, the hand-baked variety . . you’ll flip for the Kneading Conference.”

CNN Travel

A ONE-OF-A-KIND EVENT AND GOING STRONG SINCE 2007

 The Kneading Conference brings together grainiacs and bread buffs from all over the country. Farmers, professional and home bakers, brewers, chefs, cooks, grain researchers, maltsters, food entrepreneurs, and wood-fired oven enthusiasts gather to educate one another about the art and science of growing and milling grains, baking artisan breads, and brewing delicious beer. Whether you are a professional, or just yearning to know more about the craft, we think CNN got it right.

Celebrating all things grain

2021 Conference schedule

Join us for more than 25 virtual workshops, demos, panels, and discussions led by grain leaders from around the world!

Registrants can choose to attend every session or by the class. Attendees may watch live or view the class later (workshop recordings will be available for 6 months). A dedicated page with the video, recipes, links to resources, and a compilation of questions answered during the session will be provided.

2021 Keynote – Muhidin Libah 

Muhidin Libah -Farmer with Liberation Farms, Executive Director & Co-Founder of the Somali Bantu Community Association of Maine

Muhidin Libah (he/him) is a farmer with Liberation Farms and the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Somali Bantu Community Association of Maine (SBCA). He was born in Southern Somalia, grew up in a Kenyan refugee camp, and came to the United States in 2004. He has a degree from the University of Southern Maine and has co-founded multiple nonprofits including the Middle Jubba Relief and Sustainability Organization and the Somali Bantu Community Association of Syracuse. He is a family man who just celebrated the birth of his tenth child.

The mission of Liberation Farms, the SBCA’s community farming program, is to provide new American farmers access to, and culturally-appropriate resources for, the means of sustainable food production for themselves, their families, and their communities. There are currently over 220 farmers growing diversified vegetables and Somali flint corn at Whiting Farm in Auburn and raising goats at Little Jubba Central Maine Agrarian Commons in Wales. To learn more, please visit: 

Photo credits: Ellie Markovitch – @storycooking

Countdown to the 2021 Kneading Conference

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If you have purchased a ticket of any type, you will have access to all green, red, and blue sessions listed on the schedule. Simply add them to your individualized schedule along with the workshop(s) you plan to attend.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to create a sched.com account (you have to do this in order to access the Zoom links)
  • When you registered to the Kneading Conference you were prompted to create a password to sched.com. After saving your password you are able to login to sched.com with the password you created. This will allow you to create your schedule.
How to create your Kneading Conference Schedule
  • Add any and all sessions/workshops you want to view to your schedule (below you will see where it says “click here to add to my sched). 
  • Ten minutes before each workshop the zoom link will appear in the workshop information portion of the schedule. Below is a screen show of where you will find all the zoom links for the workshops.
  • Remember, you have to add the workshops to your schedule to see the zoom links (you will see below in yellow it says “add to your schedule to view video stream” – this is where the zoom links will be 10 minutes before each sessions starts). 

Where can I find the conference schedule?
Forgot your sched.com password? Click here.

Forgot your sched.com password? Click here.

Remember all blue, red, and green sessions are open to all attendees, whether you've purchased a full conference pass or a single session pass

Simply add the session to your personal schedule by clicking “Add to My Sched”

Where to find the Zoom link to the workshop

If you are logged into your conference schedule, you will be able to click into the session you are interested in attending. Once in the session description, a yellow Zoom button will appear 10 minutes before the session starts. Click the button and it will launch Zoom and you will be in the workshop. 

All sessions will be recorded.

The videos will be shared with full conference pass holders and single workshop pass holders who have saved the workshop to their schedule (including those who attended live on Zoom). Recorded videos will be sent at the end of each day of the conference.  Registrants will have access to all sessions for 6 months.

New to Zoom? Here is where you can download Zoom if you have never used it before.
Questions and troubleshooting?

If you need assistance during the week please feel free to reachout to tristan@mainegrainalliance or kayla@mainegrainalliance.com and we will be sure to help.

2021 Presenters

Sarah Owens

Author, Ritual Fine Foods

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Sarah Owens is a cookbook author, baker, professional horticulturist, and culinary instructor. She was awarded a James Beard for her first book Sourdough and released her second in 2017 titled Toast and Jam. Her much anticipated forthcoming title Heirloom: Time Honored Techniques, Nourishing Traditions, and Modern Recipes will be released September 2019. Sarah believes strongly in the power of baking to foster community and social change; she is an advocate of sustainable agricultural practices to rebuild global grain sheds and believes stone milling can bring good bread back to the table. As a teacher of nourishing food traditions, she travels globally to encourage an interest in fermentation. 

Jason Perkins

Brewmaster, Allagash Brewing

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Jason Perkins is the Brewmaster of Allagash Brewing in Portland Maine He was one of the first employees in the company and he has been there for the past 22 years. Prior to that, Jason enjoyed opportunities to work at The Kettle House in Missoula Montanta and Gritty McDuff’s in Freeport Maine. He began his brewing career like so many craft brewers as a homebrewer during college and the early years thereafter. He is also a graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, ME.

Susannah Gebhart

Founder, OWL Bakery

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My education in baking began under the tutelage of a fourth-generation baker of Spanish and Italian descent from whom I learned old-world techniques and where I came to know the dance that is production baking. Eight years later, after exploring a handful of vocations, I returned to baking in my own way — with a rigorous eye, inquisitive palate, exacting standards, and a desire to bring my customers products that feed both the spirit and the body. OWL Bakery has become my pulse and my practice, where I blend a formal education in food anthropology, a passion for improving my craft, and my experiences abroad, in the kitchen, and in the garden.

Andy Clark

Owner, Moxie Bread

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Andy Clark is a baker and owner of Moxie Bread Co located in Louisville & Boulder, Colorado. Moxie Bread Co is devoted to organic heirloom grain and most of their wheat is sourced from regional farmers in Kansas, Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota, and soon Colorado. Food & Wine Magazine just named Moxie Bread Co as one of the top ten bakeries in the United States. Andy is also the chair of the Colorado Grain Chain and has been growing Turkey Red wheat in partnership with a local farmer.

Beesham Soogrim

Vegetarian Chef and Baker

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My name is Beesham Soogrim, Living in Sweden. I am an artisan baker and a vegetarian chef with over 30 years of baking experience and sourdough baking for almost 20 years. For the past 8 years, I have been doing baking workshops traveling the world been in over 20 countries, just to mention a few. Almost all Europe, USA, Asia, Middle east. For teaching both professional and home bakers about sourdough baking. Doing bakery consultation.

My main focus is natural fermentation working with sourdough and predough with slow and long fermentation and whole and heritage grains.

Social media page on FB is Beesham The Baker and my Instagram is beesham_the_baker

My main focus is natural fermentation working with sourdough and predough with slow and long fermentation and whole and heritage grains.

Social media page on FB is Beesham The Baker and my Instagram is beesham_the_baker

Amy Halloran

Author of The New Bread Basket

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Amy Halloran followed her love of flour back to the field and wrote THE NEW BREAD BASKET: How the New Crop of Grain Growers, Plant Breeders, Millers, Maltsters, Bakers, Brewers, and Local Food Activists Are Redefining Our Daily Loaf (Chelsea Green, 2015). A native of upstate New York, she runs a community meals program, and teaches cooking, food justice and writing. She never tires of pancakes.

William Rubel

Bread Historian, Author, & Writer on Traditional Foodways

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William Rubel has been making bread since he was eleven years old. For decades, he has been studying the history of bread, and examining where traditional foodways and culinary history intersect.
William travels the world studying food customs and gathering recipes. Inspired by the antique iron fireplace cooking tools he purchased at a flea market in Paris in his twenties, William has since traveled to Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia and has fallen in love with cooking with live fire.
William writes on a wide range of subjects from bread to wild mushrooms, and from hearth cooking to kitchen gardening. He is the author of The Magic of Fire: Cooking on the Open Hearth and Bread: A Global History. William is a regular contributor to Mother Earth News where he has published a diverse array of articles on hearth cooking, making butter at home, the heirloom red Italian flint corn Floriani, and how to make wonderful, simple homemade breads. William mills and refines most of his own flour and takes a relaxed, improvisational approach to baking. He bakes bread (and many of his meals) in his outdoor bread oven.
William also writes for other publications, usually articles that relate to culinary culture and history. As an example, William is the principle author of an article in Economic Botany on the edibility of “Amanita muscaria,” the red mushroom with white dots that lends its pattern to so many products and children’s story illustrations. William also has an ongoing project researching the smoke cured and fermented milk of the Samburu of Northern Kenya. 
Forty-seven years ago, William founded Stone Soup, a literary magazine and website written and illustrated by kids through age 13. Stone Soup has been inspiring children to read, write and create their own artworks for publication in their magazine since 1973.
William has recently begun a Thursday Bread History Seminar Series and has hosted twenty-one virtual talks so far.

Sarah Magid

Founder & Proprietor of Knead Love Bakery

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Sarah Magid is the founder and proprietor of Knead Love Bakery, a gluten-free bakery based in NYC.

After taking classes with Sarah Owens, Sarah started Knead Love in 2019 as a creative outlet.  Her professional background is in the worlds of both baking and fashion. She designed jewelry and accessories for large fashion brands for over 15 years while moonlighting as a baker. Her organic cake business in 2007 led to her first cookbook exploring more natural ingredients and jewelry-inspired decorations (Organic and Chic, HarperCollins 2009).

In her late 30’s, Sarah received an autoimmune diagnosis that prompted her to shift her diet. Removing refined sugars, gluten, and some dairy became integral for her healing, but it also posed creative challenges in her baking. Sarah discovered a new creative outlet with gluten-free sourdough, milling flour, and embracing a more nutrient-dense style of baking.


Her mentors June Russell and Sarah Owens inspired her to dive deeper into baking with nutrient-dense and regional grains and ingredients.   They continue to be an infinite source of wisdom, inspiration, and guidance. 

In 2020, Knead Love Bakery joined the GrowNYC Greenmarket to share her spirited approach to gluten-free sourdough bread, bagels, and treats. She partners with regional vendors (such as GrowNYC Grains) at the Greenmarket and other vendors in NYC to create and collaborate. Supporting the local food supply systems is integral to her values and baking philosophy. Her style of baking is beyond just being gluten-free; it is about creating community, honoring the seasons, fostering partnerships, high vibe connections, nourishing the body, and love.

 
Sarah lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two teenagers. They are all gluten eaters and have been the most trustworthy critics of her baking.

David Kaminer

Raleigh Street Bakery- Denver, CO

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David Kaminer is owner operator of Raleigh Street Bakery, a cottage food operation in Denver, CO. David’s career in baking started while he was in high school. He worked at a local bakery just down the street from his home just south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts in 2002 and jumped at the opportunity for an externship at the Broadmoor in Colorado and moved there the same year. David has had amazing opportunities to grow and refine his culinary know-how at bakeries and restaurants in Colorado before he converted his garage into a bakery and opened up Raleigh Street Bakery in 2014. He bakes a variety of naturally leavened breads that are made with house milled whole grains. He sells them at markets and from his home throughout the week.      

Amber Lambke

Co-Founder & President, Maine Grains

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Amber Lambke is president of the Somerset Grist Mill, LLC and its Maine Grains label, carried by specialty food stores and used by fine restaurants and bakeries throughout the Northeast. A driving force behind Maine’s sustainable foods movement, Amber has worked with local business leaders and community members to successfully bring the cultivation and processing of heritage grains back to Skowhegan, Maine. Her efforts through the Maine Grain Alliance have generated a broader understanding and appreciation of the nutritional and economic value of heritage grains and oats, as well as their exceptional flavor. The alliance’s Kneading Conference, co-founded by Amber, now draws thousands of attendees from throughout North America each year and has spawned similar conferences across the country.

Dusty Dowse

Owner/Baker, Lammastide Bakery

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Harold “Dusty” Dowse has been baking for a half century and is the Baking Education Coordinator for the Maine Grain Alliance, Director of the Maine Artisan Bread Fair, and Resident Baker.  He has developed a year-round workshop program to help participants develop artisan baking skills and start bakeries.  He is Professor Emeritus of Biology and Mathematics at the University of Maine and brings this background in research and teaching to his study of bakery science and practice.  He leads a team of bakers that produces bread for the volunteers at the Common Ground Fair, put on by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners in Unity every September.  His team bakes bread for MGA to vend at the Bangor Harvest Fest each November and has his own artisan bakery, Lammastide Bakers, in his home town of Cambridge, Maine.

Daniel Des Rosiers

Owner/Baker - Boulangerie Des Rosiers

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The only baker in Canada who contributed to the Modernist Bread project.  In fact, his approach is to always look for a better way.  Much of his technique is to deconstruct grain, in order to rebuild a better bread. In order to do so, understanding the science and microbiology behind sourdough has helped him to develop new flavor profiles and increase shelf life without additives. His bakery produces exclusively sourdough bread and he works extensively with ancient grain. www.boulangeriedesrosiers.com

 

Michael Hanson

Master Baker & Teacher

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Michael Hanson was born to bake. He is a third-generation Master Baker who stepped into his grandfather’s bakehouse aged 7. Fifty years later he still can’t resist the smell of a warm

loaf. He has run his own bakeries and worked with some of the most influential bakers in the UK artisan baking scene. He has been a sourdough teacher for over 20 years, he was the Head of Baking at the Brook Bakery School in the UK. He created and ran a successful wood-fired restaurant for several years which regularly featured in the top 5 Neapolitan pizzerias in the UK 

 

Michael also created and oversees a community initiative based in the UK  called Bread For Life. Through the ancient arts of farming, milling, and baking supports food aid programs and community projects worldwide. Michael worked with John Letts to create the UK Heritage Grain Trust.

 

Michael’s wheat and baking research have taken him to Iraq, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Italy where he worked with traditional bakers using wood-fired ovens and indigenous wheats.

Most recently Michael has been conducting field research in the Republic of Georgia, searching out almost-extinct ancient grains and traditional bakers. He is working on the definitive bread book. 

    

Cathy Zabinski

Plant/soil Ecologist, Professor & Author

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Cathy Zabinski is a plant/soil ecologist and professor at Montana State University in Bozeman. She is the author of “Amber Waves: The Extraordinary Biography of Wheat, from Wild Grass to World Megacrop”, published last fall. Her research program centers around interactions between plants and soil communities, extending from disturbed and restored lands to farm fields, particularly focused on how we can restore sites or manage our agricultural lands to increase soil community diversity and nutrient cycling.  At Montana State, she teaches courses in restoration ecology and belowground plant ecology.

 

Barak Olins

Owner & Baker Zu Bakery

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BEGINNING
The bread that I make today isn’t so very different from when I first opened ZU in 2000- naturally leavened and baked in a wood-fired oven; made from a mixture of freshly-milled whole grains, sifted flours, water and grey sea salt.  Over time and with repetition has come an ability to more precisely observe the dough and the oven, but there is always variation in the results.  This variation is what a word like artisinal really gets at.  That is, bread made in limited quantities  by hands in a somewhat primitive environment. Bread that is affected by the weather, the flour, the heat of the oven and the baking schedule. Artisinal bread should be rightly considered an ethic rather than an aesthetic.
INSPIRATION

When I first started the bakery, there was a single book I scoured endlessly from cover to cover:  The Village Baker by Joe Ortiz.  Ortiz’s book gave me something both tangible and etherial to dream of.  With the craft of baking came tools and techniques, the physicality of work and a deep satisfaction in unloading loaves of bread from the oven.  But there was something else that captured my attention in Ortiz’s description of the village bakeries that he so admired. He gave me a sense of the long lineage of bread bakers that I wanted to insert myself amongst.  Each flour laden workshop he described was a variant of the same mechanism, arranged to provide bread to the villagers.
With the help of a skilled mason, I built a modified Alan Scott wood-fired masonry oven.  I began to imagine myself a village baker, albeit in a country with nutritional trends that consistently put bread under scrutiny and scorn.   All along, I have resisted speculating on the health benefits that the breads I make may or may not possess and I have mostly avoided commenting on dietary preoccupations of gluten or carbohydrates.  Instead, I  have relied on the basic pleasure of eating real bread with butter, cheese, olives, fresh vegetables, cured meats, soups and wine to suffice as justification for its vital role in the village.  It must also be true that the long lineage (now 14,000 years) of bread eaters has cemented an immutable collective dietary craving.
BAKING
For me, baking is a solitary act in which, much like long drives, my mind simultaneously stays attentive and drifts off.  Baking nights are long and physical tasks  carefully arranged  so that there is always bread in the oven and doughs fermenting at staggered stages. In between there are short breaks for a bite of dinner or sip of beer. One of the unexpected pleasures of baking in a wood-fired oven is the utter silence of the machine.  Music, podcasts and the occasional visitor are interspersed.   

SELLING
By contrast, the farmers market is an entirely social event.  Before market and while setting up for the day, vendors (my colleagues) catch up while exchanging quips and coffee.  Then I am visited by customers (my companions), in which the transaction of bread for money is one made up of many exchanges. Some ask of my family and I of theirs, some mention politics, others describe meals or travels and then there are conversations about bread.  This is meaningful commerce.

BREAD RECIPES
From the first time I tasted the breads of  Lionel Poilâne and Jean Luc Poujauran on a trip to Paris years before I had the bakery, I wanted to emulate them and so I came to favor certain techniques. I prefer working with a stiffer levain (sourdough starter).  Despite the many advantages of retarding or cold-fermenting the dough, I prefer to work with dough that remains at room temperature.  My doughs are fairly high in hydration but not excessively so.  My shaping is gentle and doesn’t involve the now very common technique of stitching. I bake the loaves dark but not to a point where there is bitterness to the crust. And still . . .there is always variation.

 

Marc Levy

Bread Baker, King Arthur Baking Co.

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I grew up having a rather large Greek family. It was my mother’s side of the family, but my how they outnumbered my dad’s side. Food was at the center of all gatherings. Whether it was a holiday or just a typical Tuesday at my Aunt Georgia’s. Also, my Uncle Steve had a phyllo(filo) shop. It was just around the corner from Yiayia’s house, and when I was young, we would go and visit. I’d walk out of that shop with a small amount of dough to take to Yiayia’s and I’d raid her pantry and put all kinds of stuff in it. It was tactile, it was messy, it was fun!
This was probably my first baking moments. After high school, I attended Kendall College and earned my degree in baking and pastry. Following that, I worked in bakeries around Chicago, Minneapolis, and Athens, GA. In 2019 I earned my Certified Bread Baker title from the Bread Bakers Guild of America. Currently, I enthusiastically share the floor with some great bakers at King Arthur Baking Co.

Albie Barden

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Albie is one of the founders of the Maine Grain Alliance and helped initiate the first Kneading Conference in 2006
Professionally, Albie is a 40 year veteran oven, cooker, and masonry heater designer, including the Tiny House
heater; and builder and the co-founder of Maine Wood Heat Company, Inc. He is also the co-founder of the
Common Ground Country Fair, the Masonry Heater Association of North America, and of Flint Corn in Maine.
Albie has been a lifetime organic gardener and is passionate about growing and preserving heirloom varieties of flint
corn.

    

Ellie Markovitch

Founder: Story Cooking

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Ellie applies her passion for innovative and sustainable food practices and her unique skill set that includes visual storytelling and community engagement.  Ellie has a professional background in photojournalism and an MFA degree in Electronic Arts. Her work revolves around media and food literacy. She uses food as a starting point for conversations and community building. Ellie was born in Brazil and spent most of her childhood weekends at her grandparents’ small farm. “There was a story behind everything we did with our food – from how it was grown, harvested, cooked, and shared.”  

    

Evan Orloff

Head Baker - Maine Grains

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Evan Orloff got a late start in bread baking at the age of 29. He spent his earlier career in the apparel industry, but always had it in the back of his head that he wanted to work in the food industry.

At the time Evan was living in Berkeley, CA. In May 2019 he took a two-hour workshop at The Mill in San Francisco to learn the basics of sourdough bread. He came home with some notes and a starter and the baking began.

Within a few months, he had sent some emails to a few bakeries around the San Francisco Bay Area for a job.

Fortunately, he was contacted by Brickmaiden Breads in Point Reyes, CA for an interview. He showed up with a home-baked loaf of bread and a lot of interest in becoming a baker. They invited him back for a stage and that visit was shortly followed up with a job offer.

For the next 7 months, he learned how to shape, mix, and bake sourdough. And then the pandemic made its way to the states. Due to his living situation, he stopped working and had to make a plan. He decided to move to the Northeast. Evan started to reach out to bakeries in and around Portland, ME. Unfortunately, no bakeries seemed to be hiring during the summer months of 2020. However, a friend of a friend put him in touch with Amber Lambke of Maine Grains. Amber was looking to build out a sourdough bread program out of the restaurant she owns that shares the building with Maine Grains, The Miller’s Table.

They had a few phone calls, a couple zooms, and he did a baking project to show her what he was capable of. Granted, home baking and baking in a bakery at a larger scale are two different sports. Amber gave Evan the opportunity and he started work at the Miller’s Table in September 2020.

The Kneading Conference is made possible thanks to our incredible sponors. 

2021 Kneading Conference Presenting Sponsor

($10,000+)

2021 Kneading Conference Contributing Sponsor

($5,000+)

2021 Kneading Conference Leader Sponsors

($2,500+)

2021 Kneading Conference Sustaining Sponsor

($1000+)

2021 Kneading Conference Media Sponsor

2021 Kneading Conference Benefactor Sponsor

($500+)

2021 Kneading Conference Patron Sponsor

($200+)

2021 Kneading Conference Friend Sponsor

($50+)

HERITAGE HOUSE RESTAURANT

Work Study 

Thank you for your interest in The Kneading Conference work study program. Our work study opportunities are now full for the event. Thank you for your interest!

“I have to admit that I was nervous before the weekend began, so many talented bakers and professionals in one place — the accumulated acumen was dizzying and I was prepared to feel a bit out of place. My assumptions, per usual, did not prove to be true. The open, welcoming air put off by every MGA board member immediately put my mind at ease. I was truly afraid of feeling like an outsider, and that wasn’t the case for a moment during the week. The event felt more like a celebration — presenters, board members, and other work study members coming together to educate and rejoice in our shared love of food. While I learned a lot about oven building, pasta rolling, and donut frying — the friends and connections I established left me feeling truly grateful for the opportunity. While I’m incredibly inspired to bake, eat, and write about food, I must admit my biggest takeaway from the week has to be the relationships formed. I made friends for life, and learned how to properly glaze a donut.”
Mike Hicks

2018 Work Study