Keeping our local food system healthy and strong is a community effort. As with any system of trade, it requires a dynamic variety of moving parts to function. So, what separates our beloved system from the national food system? While there are some clear differences, such as boosting our local economy and access to fresher fare on store shelves, one key notion to remember is that it is still a work-in-progress.
What is it about Ojoche that makes it so uniquely fascinating? This nutrient-packed seed has been around for centuries, yet many of us are just learning about the mysterious superfood for the first time. Even people living throughout Central America where it is grown are largely unaware of it.
In 1892, a group of rural New England dairy farmers gathered together in hopes of solving what to do with their surplus supplies of raw milk. Because it was so difficult to store milk without refrigeration in those days, they needed to find a solution for turning their abundance of milk into a product that could be stored for a longer period of time.
Andrea and Christian Stanley harvested their first malt barley from a small field in Hadley in 2010. Little did they know it was only the beginning of their venture into the grain industry—a path that eventually inspired them to found their own flour mill, Ground Up Grain. After nearly a decade in business, their mission remains the same: to produce fresh and nutritious flour for a sustainable and resilient local food system.
One of the co-op’s top priorities is to partner with socially and environmentally conscious vendors and distributors. We seek out small farmers from the region who offer responsibly made products that are beneficial to the earth and the health of our community. This road eventually led to Family Farmstead Dairy in Central New York, where a small family farm recently started a small creamery founded on the values of ecological sustainability and family wellness.