Mission: The mga was formed to provide educational outreach to producers, consumers, students and the general public as to the ways and means of growing, milling and baking. Also, to support the environment
Results: Acreage planted in edible grains in Maine up from 500 acres five years ago to 2500 acres in 2013; 12 Maine bakeries incorporating Maine grown and milled wheat into production lines, + 1 fresh pasta company; 12 grain-related businesses started in Maine influenced by attending the annual Kneading Conference; a food hub has taken shape in Skowhegan, centered around the new Somerset Grist Mill; a pilot program partnering with the Northern New England Bread Wheat Project at University of Maine to help farmers cultivate edible wheat; partnership with Kneading Conference West at Washington State University.
Target demographics: promote grain cultivation and wholesome artisan bread.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 12 scholarship recipients to the Kneading Conference, 6 grants awarded to grain entrepreneurs, 250 participants in the Kneading Conference to network and learn about grain cultivation, scratch baking, small farm equipment.
Geographic areas served: Maine
Programs: An average of 250 participants, presenters, work-study volunteers and scholarship recipients attend the kneadomg conference annuallly,. Over 60 vendors and 3000 sttendees come to an artisian bread fair designed to make vendors and 3000 attendees come to an artisian bread fair designed to make bread and baking resources available to the general public and helps people connect other members of the local grain economy. The mga travels with a mofile wood fired oven to 4-6 events per year to educate children and adults about careers in baking, use of whole grains in baking and discuss current grain economy and share toold and resources.
Simply, this organization has changed a region. One long time resident of our town told me that she was proud to live here again because of the direct work, but also the ripple effect of the Maine Grain Alliance and it's programs and connections. New businesses have started, tourists make the Skowhegan region a destination and not just a stop on their way north, and farmer and bakers see new viability for their businesses. MGA's work doesn't stop in Maine. Annually, people come from all over the country and even from abroad to attend the Kneading Conference where professional and novice farmers, millers, malters, bakers and wood fired oven enthusiasts come together to show off and tell of their crafts. The ideas gleaned and new friendships made are taken back with participants to their homes and flourish there. As a farmer, I can't say enough about the Maine Grain Alliance. Farmland is going back into production around me and our profession is being honored and appreciated and supported by our community and becoming a source of pride as in its early years. This organization is truly a labor of love as its mission is carried out by a group of core volunteers and myriad enthusiasts willing to put some elbow grease and occasionally money where there mouth is and where their hopes for their community lie.