The Newsletter of the Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative
Building The Staple Foods Revolution since in 2009
No 6 | August | 2021
Back to School with Staple Foods!
in this issue:
Pizza Dough Recipe. Policy Briefs. Grains in School Food.
ASFC Updates. Partner Updates. Calendar
Land acknowledgment: We acknowledge the traditional lands & territories of the Indigenous Nations of the Shawnee and their ancestors, whose stewardship of this land, and cultivation of the staple seed crops of corn, beans, nuts, and ancient chenopods in Appalachia, Ohio
School Food for All
by Michelle Ajamian 

What if The Universal School Meal Act, could result in removing the stigma of the free meal? The Act offers all students, regardless of income school meals without charge. Could that lead to examining how school food became so bad?

School menus are dominated by packaged cereals and heat-and-serve meats, like chicken nuggets. The outcome is an epidemic of diet related illnesses in children for the first time in history.  And that epidemic is felt in other ways. The methods used to grow the corn, soy and wheat that occupy 90% of our farmland are major contributors to climate change.  

Even though the National Farm to School Program has supported community involvement in school food since 1996, less than 1% of the $19 billion in annual spending in 2018/2019 went to the program, and far less to purchasing local grain and bean products. Why aren't we spending more?
Local Grain featured in School Lunch Program
by Kiah Easton

The lunch served at Portland Public School (PPS) in Oregon pictured here is “a typical meal of homemade pizza with whole-wheat crust (made from wheat harvested by Shepherd’s Grain cooperative in Washington State)...” This school district exemplifies the change that is attainable in public school food across the United States.

Spelt Pizza Dough Recipe
by Kiah Easton

Below is a recipe for spelt pizza dough from
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp. coconut sugar
2 & ¼ tsp. active dry yeast
2 & ½ cups local spelt flour
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
1 & ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
2 tbsp. local cornmeal
Policy Briefs
US Schools Grapple with School Meal Programs
by Rhyann Green

On July 9, the CDC published updated recommendations and guidance for the upcoming school year, emphasizing the importance of making a return to in-person learning. Further instructions for meal preparation and serving were detailed in the update, including a dismissal of the need for “single use items and packaged meals.”
A national survey in September 2020 from the School Nutrition Association found 86.6% of participating schools discontinued self-service areas, such as salad bars, and 78.2% were serving pre-packaged or pre-plated meals. While shelf-stable meals were on the rise among school cafeterias, hot meals saw a decrease.
Pandemic School Food Impacts Student Health
by Rhyann Green

One of the primary challenges schools across the country faced when transitioning to remote learning was how to feed students. Now, as students return to in-person learning, some experts believe the pandemic has taken a lasting toll on children’s diets.
In an article for The Counter, writer Sam Bloch interviewed several experts in adolescence healthcare, many of whom expressed concern over a rise in weight gain among their patients. Columbia University researcher Eliza Kinsey explained that past studies have shown children who eat more meals from home have a “diet that’s higher in caloric, but [includes] nutritionally deficient foods, ... and miss out on fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that are typically offered at school.”
ASFC Update: Millers Peer Group
The Millers Peer Learning Group's last meeting led us to decide to plan topics for each call, starting with safety, both at the mill and in the products we sell. We skipped a mill tour this round, but if you didn't see Charile Wade's tour of Deep Roots Milling, in Nelson County, Virginia, here it is again. The 1794 mill (Woodson Mill) Charlie and his partners use had been in continuous operation until the 1960s. Deep Roots holds a market on site once a month offering freshly milled grits and flour and offers sales of all their products online. We will be featuring members on the Rural Action website before our next issue. Stay tuned!
ASFC Update: Neighbor Loaves (& Meals)
Community Food Initiatives and the Athens Food Pantry continue to distribute bread, bean burgers, and chili around the county to pantries, libraries, the donation station, and senior centers. You can be part of our effort to bring local grain and bean recipes to food access programs by purchasing from our participating businesses so we can take your order to neighbors in need every week!

Below is the listing for the businesses that are making their Neighbor Loaves & Meals using 50% locally grown organic grain and beans. As more local eateries and bakeries join Neighbor Loaves & Meals, we’ll add details to this page. Start ordering today and help us reach our $10,000 goal this year!
Village Bakery: Spelt Bread, Sliced, $5
Ingredients: Made with 50% local whole grains.

Casa Nueva: Vegetarian Chili, $5.50
Ingredients: 50% Locally Grown Ohio Organic Black Beans, tomatoes, corn and spices. Available: In-store or online.

Kindred Market: Black Bean & Sweet Potato Burgers, $8
Ingredients: 50% Locally Grown Ohio Organic Black Beans
Available: In-store and online

Athens Bread Company: Heirloom Red Fife Sourdough, $7
Ingredients: Red Fife Heirloom Wheat flour
Available: In-store.
NASN Partner News:
Our network of food system leaders meets quarterly to think together about advancing staple crops across North American regions. ASFC will be publishing a map of organizations supporting this work and regional staple food processors on our website and in the next newsletter. Stay tuned!
USDA Grant Awarded to Support Local Grain Research
by Rhyann Green

While the focus of increasing nutrition in school meals over the last few years has largely centered on incorporating more locally produced fruits and vegetables, some schools and research organizations are searching for ways to increase the amount of local grains used in school lunches. The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) recently received a $516,000 grant from the USDA to fund this research.
Chatham Launches Commonwealth Grains Community
by Cassandra Malis, Program Manager at CRAFT

Chatham University and its Center for Regional Agriculture, Food and Transformation (CRAFT) is launching the Commonwealth Grains Community (CGC) membership to connect professional grain producers and processors in the greater Western PA region.
The CGC will set up a members-only free portal within the CRAFT website that provides informational resources, a calendar of upcoming events, local educational and networking opportunities and a forum for members to exchange questions and ideas.
GRAINS Week Recap
by Noelle Spence

Hosted by Cascadia Grains, GRAINS WEEK was ‘an interactive online educational event featuring research, information, community sustainability and heath of regional value-added small grain economies for farmers, bakers, brewers, distillers, millers, maltsters, and consumers.’ The Cascadia Grains website highlights their partners and speakers at the conference. You can watch the entirety of GRAINS WEEK on YouTube.
The Cascadia Grains Regional Call featured two GRAINS WEEK talks with Neftali Duran on cultural synergy and Mike Potter, Bill Thorne, and Dreux, Black brewers seeking a new narrative in the craft beer scene.
North American Staples Network (NASN) Partners

Aba Kiser: Cascadia Grains/ Washington State University Food Systems/Pacific Northwest and Cascades Region
Alyssa Hartman: The Artisan Grain Collaborative/Upper Midwest
Bill Davison-Savanna Institute /Midwest
Cassandra Malis: The Center for Regional Agriculture, Food, and Transformation: CRAFT/Chatham University/Western Pennsylvania
Emily Cayer Northeast Grainshed Alliance, Northeastern US
Henry Blair: University of Vermont Extension/Northwest Vermont
June Russell: GrowNYC:Grain New York and adjacent states
Lee Ann Hill: Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance/Rocky Mountain Region
Michelle Ajamian: Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative/Central Appalachia
Onawa Dufresne Barger: Common Grain Alliance/Central Appalachia/Virginia Subscribe to weekly updates, HERE
Learn More


In Print
Indigenous Children’s Survivance in Public Schools” (ISBN: 9781138384507) by Leilani Sabzalian
Feeding the Future: School Lunch Programs as Global Social Policy” (ISBN: 9780813573311) by Jennifer Geist Rutledge

Inside School Food, episode 63: “Intact Grains 101
Just Food, season 2, episode 3: “Rethinking School Lunch: Health Equity
Gastropod, Lunch Gets Schooled


Sunday, August 1: 1–5 pm, Monday, August 2: 10 am – 4 pm (CDT), Tuesday, August 3: 10 am – 4 pm, Wednesday, August 4: 10 am – 12 pm - Virtual Conference
Northern Nut Growers Association 2021 Virtual Annual Conference. Topics include Breeding & Culture, Orchard or Farm Stories, Invasive Species/Pest Reports, Cultivar News, Dicamba, 2-4-D, and glyphosate injury, Climate Change. Held by PASA Sustainable Agriculture Register HERE
Monday, August 2nd, 12:00 PM - Webinar
Virtual Recipe Development with Local Grains with Erika Bruce of Le Beau Gateau. Join Le Beau Gateau Owner and Head Baker Erika Bruce for a conversation on how to develop recipes with regionally sourced grains and flours. Presented by CRAFT / Chatham University. Learn more and register HERE.
August 9th & 10, Bozeman, MT
Malt for Brewers Workshop, Join the Craft Maltsters Guild to learn about malts and how to communicate with breweries. Learn more HERE.

​​Thursday, August 12th, Laughing Wolf Farm in Mancos, Colorado 
Grain School in a Day with Bill McDorman and special guest Joseph Lofthouse for hands-on activities and grainy fun. Farm fresh and grainy lunches will be served. Info and to register HERE.
Saturday, August 14th-15th, Yellow Springs, Ohio
Seed School with Beth Bridgeman. This course explores community seed-saving as a resilience tool, including relocalizing seed, seed sovereignty, and stewardship. Learn more HERE.


Friday, September 10th-11th - Virtual and In-Person Conference, Central State University
The 2nd Annual Black Farming Conference. This year's conference will focus on the economic impacts of the cooperative business model and the power of growing your own food, from seed saving to community gardening and celebrating the contributions of Black and underrepresented food and farming communities. Learn more HERE.
Friday, September 17th - Sunday 19th, 2021, Salamander Springs Farm - Clear Creek, Berea, Kentucky

The Permaculture In Practice Weekend Intensive at Salamander Springs Farm.. Participants will be immersed in the myriad aspects of living on a self-built, off-grid farm dedicated to regenerative permaculture farming practices. Cost $330-$380, Work trade available. Register HERE.

Friday, September 17th - Sunday 19, Albany, Ohio 
23rd Annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival: Come for a full lineup of live music, Pawpaw competitions, panels, and workshops, including Pawpaw Brewer’s Round Table & Tasting and Pawpaw Cookoffs plus kids activities, food trucks, a beer garden, a community marketplace..and lots more! Learn more HERE.

Starting Tuesday, September 30th - Virtual 
Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance’s Virtual Grain School begins. This eight-week course takes place each Thursday from 2-4 pm Mountain Time and will cover grains from seed to plate with special guest presenters and hands-on virtual activities. The grande finale is a full day “Milling and Baking Bonanza" on Friday, November 19th with renowned millers, bakers, and chefs. For more info and to register, visit HERE.

Wednesday, October 6th, 12:00 pm - Virtual Conference
Join Cascadia Grains for their October regional quarterly call. The regional call is an “open-source group phone call: all are welcome! Announce your latest project, upcoming event, or next greatest idea. Information shared on this call will be recorded and available below.” Register by October 1st HERE.

Friday, October 8th -10th Durham
Saturday, October 9th, Soweto
Friday, October 22nd-24th Los Angeles

Blacktoberfest 2021, the second installment of Black Brew Culture's amazing celebration of our cultural connection to beer, food, entertainment, and the age-old concept of circular economics. Join us for a month-long showcase of in-person craft beer, culinary and educational events throughout the month of October. 
Learn more HERE.
Join the Staple Food Revolution!
Help build networks that support regional efforts to grow
and process annual and perennial staple seed crops
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The Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative
Newsletter Staff
Editors: Lily Roby,
Writers: Rhyann Green, Kiah Easton, Michelle Ajamian, Noelle Spence
Contributors: Cassandra Malis
Layouts: Noelle Spence
Michelle Ajamian
Kiah Easton

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