Grains Co-Op

Grain Thresher

If you’ve thought about where your food comes from, you’ve thought about grains.

From bread to oatmeal to—of course!—beer, grains are a major source of our calories and nutrition, but Southwestern Michigan has a very limited supply that are both sustainably and locally grown. With the amount of land needed for crops like wheat, oats, and quinoa, most of us don’t have the option of growing our own to control the cost and quality. So we got together and decided to form a cooperative.

A handful of permaculture-minded landowners have set aside test plots for different grains—wheat, barley, oats, quinoa, amaranth—to investigate ways of growing our cereal crops in an ethical way. That means organic, low till, poly-culture beds that don’t degrade the lands that feed them (and us).

2014 is set to be a year of hard work and experimentation, but the grains project also promises some unique community-building opportunities–and we want your help. For an owner share of $40 and a pledge of 16 hours of work on things like sowing and harvesting, you’ll receive not only an equal portion of the high-quality, local grains produced, but also a fun educational experience (we’re talking scythes and sickles, here), cooking/brewing advice, and a chance to show the nay-sayers what really can be accomplished using truly sustainable, ethical methods.

No, we can’t guarantee our yield for the year, but we have a strong, dedicated team already researching methods and seed stock options. What we need is your enthusiasm, your time, your help. Any successes we enjoy this year will be a group effort, and the experience can only make us stronger and more knowledgeable for next year.

To buy your share, please download and print or e-mail this Owners Agreement.

We’ve set up a special E-mail list just for Grains Co-op discussion (though there’s been a lot of it on the regular Van-Kal Permaculture e-mail list as well). See here:!forum/vankal-permaculture-grains-co-op