Thursday, October 21, 2010

Industrial Harvest: All Gone

Posted By on 10.21.10 at 12:06 PM

Four months and 1,000 bushels later, Sarah Kavage, whose Industrial Harvest project I wrote about here in August, is packing her flour sacks and heading home. And if you were hoping to get your mitts on a bag of Industrial Harvest flour, you're out of luck—it's all gone! All 20 tons of it.

Over the last few weeks she's cleared out her warehouse, distributing bags of flour to folks at the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation, the Chicago Botanic Garden's Green Youth Farms program, and the nuns of the Fraternite Notre Dame, who run a soup kitchen and food pantry in Austin and sell traditional French pastries at several area farmers' markets.

She's holding on to a cache of five-pound bags of all-purpose white and whole-wheat pastry flours. Some of them she's taking to her folks in Ohio; some she's packing on the Empire Builder for transport back to Seattle. But you just might be able to talk her out of one on Sunday, at the last of a series of events addressing industrial food systems and the commodities market that she's hosted at Mess Hall, in Rogers Park. This one, rescheduled from earlier this fall, is a discussion titled "Economic Justice and the Commodity System," with panelists John Kinsman and John Peck, president and executive director, respectively, of Family Farm Defenders; David Miller, president of Midwest Organic Farm Management; and Ted Weydirt, an Illinois grain farmer and president of the Midwest Organic Farmers Cooperative.

The gist of the planned discussion, which will run from 3 to 5 PM: "What is needed in order to transition to a staple crop system that is better equipped to support local, organic grain growing, long term economic viability and land stewardship?" It'll be followed by a potluck dinner. If you can't make it, collaborator Mark Shipley is in the process of posting a series of audio interviews asking similar questions on Kavage's website.

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