PRE-REQ/WK1: Introduce Yourself!

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    • #7625
      frances_craik
      Keymaster

      Welcome to Grain School Online. To ensure you have access to the Grain School Online Forum feature, please introduce yourself! Share your name, where you live, your experience with grains, and what you hope to get out of this course. Share a photo of your favorite grain, garden, or a grainy culinary creation! Please welcome your peers by replying to their introductions.

    • #7867
      Benu Amun-Ra
      Participant

      Ashay Everyone! 🙂

      My name is Benu Amun-Ra and I currently live in Aurora, CO. I stand on the lands of the first nations of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ute and Lakota Sioux. I have little to no experience growing grains but I love and appreciate this wonderful seed. I am fascinated by grains especially rice because of my Asian lineage, but I am more interested in their historical significance to human relations and with the land. The cultures that grow and depend on them for sustenance and the stories they share about this abundant resource are central to their identity which can be revealed in ceremony and ritual, creating storytellers, the recordkeepers. I love to see the evolution of this relationship over the centuries because I hope to continue expanding my seed knowledge and use this information to teach a younger generation of stewards. Including honoring my ancestors especially my mother, who taught me about food sovereignty. I am very excited for this course and in meeting everyone 🙂 I hope to see some familiar faces. Can’t wait to read everyone’s introductions. Blessings!

      Rice

      • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Benu Amun-Ra. Reason: Additional comments
      • #8706
        Renee Fourie
        Keymaster

        Hi Benu. Glad to see you again, now in Grain School Online! I too, am not a grain grower (though I hope to be one day) but I do believe in the importance of seed story and human connection to our food source. I am so inspired by the people in this community who continue to do this important work, and I see our awakened community growing daily.

    • #7890
      Beverly Todd
      Participant

      Greetings Seed Peeps!  My name is Beverly Todd and I live in Farmington NM where I garden in the traditional homelands of the Ancestral Puebloan, Navajo and Ute Peoples.  I coordinate a seed saving group we call “San Juan Seed Savers” which hosts seed swaps and has been putting together a seed library which filled email orders through the pandemic, has a small collection available at our new Harvest Food Hub and will soon have a permanent public space at the new San Juan Soil and Water Conservation District building in Aztec NM.  I am  a new-comer to grain planting, trialling 27 varieties of hulless barley this spring.  Barley was my first choice because it grows well here, is easy to prepare and delicious to eat, and because it has the potential to be a larger part of my diet and the diet of others in my community.  I am taking this course to learn more details about barley, to get the big picture on grains in general, and to connect with others on the same journey.  I’m looking forward to getting to know you all!

      • #8867
        frances_craik
        Keymaster

        Hello Beverly, lovely to share seedy space with you again! I am trialing barley for the first time myself…eager to make a bean and barley soup with it, coupled with a homemade sourdough loaf. I am so interested to learn more about the Harvest Food Hub and the community it serves. Thanks!

    • #8462
      beth bridgeman
      Participant

      Hello everyone! I am looking forward to this course. I live and work on the lands of the Odawa, Potts, Wyandottes, Miami, Shawnee, and many other Algonquin peoples, in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where I teach at Antioch College. IN 2015, with the great help of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, we offered our first Seed School. Since then, I have shared many seed schools, workshops, etc.,  at conferences, workshops and classes in my area.  I am a little new to grains, although I have had test plots of Kernza and will be helping to trial some grains at Agraria this fall. I don’t yet know which grain is calling to me. I look forward to meeting you.

    • #8540

      Hello Everyone, My name is Richard James.  I live in California in a rural mountain basin just east of the Central Valley where 1/3 of the nation’s vegetables and 2/3 of the nations fruits and nuts are grown.  I am a student at the local Community College majoring in Plant Science and recently started a job with the UC Davis Kern County Extension Office as a student assistant 2 where I will be working on the UCCE Farm and working on a research project with a neighboring County Extension Advisor with Farmers in my area.   I grew up in the midwest and saw grains being grown but personally have never grown them myself.   I hope to learn how to grow grains on my farm and get wonderful recipes.

      • #8868
        frances_craik
        Keymaster

        Hey Richard, sounds like your knee deep in food sovereignty work and farming! Where did you grow up in the Midwest? I grew up in MI, spent some time in Oregon and Arizona, and now find myself back in SE Michigan as a young farmer and seed grower. Thanks for joining us here, looking forward to learning more about you  and your work.

    • #8639
      Nathan Sieler
      Participant

      Hello!  My name is Nathan Sieler.  I live in Spokane, Washington.   Unfortunately, my 8-5 job precludes me from attending live, but I will be following along with the recordings and active in the forum.

       

      I’ve been a backyard gardener for ~4 years and recently became interested in grown grains as well as vegetables.  So far my only experience with grains is starting a small plot for the RMSA grain trials this past weekend.  Throughout this course, I hope to learn what I did wrong with this first trial plot, as well as what the possibilities are for using the grains that I grow in my own kitchen.

      my first grain experience - Sept 2021

      • #8704
        Renee Fourie
        Keymaster

        Hey Nathan, this is going to be the best place for you to find those answers!

        I hope we get some photo documentation of your winter grain growth 🙂

      • #8869
        frances_craik
        Keymaster

        Hey Nathan,

        Sorry you can’t join us live, but we hope you find this platform and class recordings most supportive. I am loving your humble heritage grain plot, it just goes to show that you seriously do not need much to grow your own foods. Hoping to see some grain trial update photos!

      • #9044
        Linda DeWitt
        Participant

        Hi Nathan,

        im attempting my grain growing in Moscow, ID.  Will be interested in your results since our climates are so similar!

      • #9149
        Nathan Sieler
        Participant

        Hello neighbor!  I’ve got some family in Pullman and Lewiston, so I’m in your neck of the woods quite often.  I’m happy to share the progress and what I learn as my experiment continues 🙂

      • #9147
        Nathan Sieler
        Participant

        Just want to share an update to my trial plot…I haven’t been out there since planting until today.  It looks like all three of my barleys germinated successfully!  Next time I head out there I plan on bringing a hoe to do some weeding and a bag of leaf or straw mulch to cover the soil.

         

        The barley pictured is called “Excelsior”

        barley update 10-10-2021

      • #9148
        Nathan Sieler
        Participant

        barley update 10-10-2021

      • #9179
        Pamela Barosso
        Participant

        Looks great!!

    • #8673
      Linda DeWitt
      Participant

      Greetings from North Idaho:). My name is Linda DeWitt and I live in Moscow Idaho, the ancestral land of the Nez Perce.  I live on a portion of a 100+ year old family farm, I have memories of riding a tractor with my grandfather through the fields.  He mainly grew peas and wheat.  It feels right to try my hand at wheat growing though my attempts thus far would not support a slice of bread:).  Good thing I like a challenge.  I’m very excited to learn about other grains with the hopes of finding something that really captures my imagination.  Growing brings me great joy!  I also help manage our local seed library and am hoping we can incorporate grains!

      • #8871
        frances_craik
        Keymaster

        Hey Linda,

        Thanks for being such a dedicated seed steward; we love staying connected to you. What a fond memory of growing with your grandfather, he’d be so proud of your current grainy endeavors I’m sure. Incorporating grains into the seed library won’t be difficult after just one season of a few small grow outs. One seed planted can harvest between 200-500 seeds – an incredible scale up!!

    • #8674
      Linda DeWitt
      Participant

      Benu, I took SSTT with you and always enjoyed your enthusiasm- looking forward to more of the same!!

    • #8677
      Lia Griesser
      Participant

      Howdy, my name is Lia Griesser and I currently live on the land of Isleta and Sandia Pueblo in the Middle Rio Grande basin in what is now known as Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’m a student at the University of New Mexico getting master’s degrees in Historic Preservation and Landscape Architecture. My primary interest is in the revitalization of traditional land management practices. I’m beginning my thesis this semester, which will look at the historic gristmills around the town of Mora and the potential for equitably revitalizing a local wheat economy in northern NM. However, I’m a total newbie when it comes to much of this topic. I picked something I wanted to learn more about, rather than something I already do.

      I grew up in the Sonoran Desert of Tucson, AZ on O’odham and Yoeme land. I have a background in art, ethnobotany, community herbalism, and wild foods. I’ve never grown grain, but am interested in seed production and have worked harvesting wild seed for the Institute for Applied Ecology’s southwest office. I adore grasses.

      This photo is from a trip I took today to Candelaria Nature Preserve which is being transitioned from commercial alfafa production to riparian avian habitat. The field was planted with 5 grain crops but teff and millet took over. This will be great food for birds, but will also help starve weedy species of light.

      Very excited to begin this journey with you all and learn in a collective!

      • #8722
        Linda DeWitt
        Participant

        Lia, your plan for your thesis sounds fascinating!  It will be interesting to follow your journey:)

      • #8872
        frances_craik
        Keymaster

        You’re not too far from your adoration of grasses – as we learned in week 1, these grains are all born of crosses from wild grasses. I am fascinated by your studies in old grist mills and regional grain economies; I do get the sense that we are on our way to returning to these older practices out of interest and necessity. You’re participation is exciting and I wish you best of luck in your thesis research.

    • #8693
      Sarah Varble
      Participant

      I’m Sarah Varble and live in northern Mississippi (in the Coldwater River watershed, the historic home of Chickasaw, Taposa, and Quapaw). I own a small farm and am passionate about regenerative agriculture. My two partners and I are building a mobile mill, called Regen Mills, to provide a way for farmers to direct market their non-GMO, regenerative crops (wheat, heirloom corn, millet, etc). I’m interested to learn more about different grains, their cultivation and uses. I’m very excited to start wheat trials on my farm this winter!

      • #8708
        Renee Fourie
        Keymaster

        Hi Sarah! I just found your farm online! What great work you and your partners do.

        Thank you for what you do for local farmers and the environment.

      • #8873
        frances_craik
        Keymaster

        Sarah! I am most thrilled by your mobile mill adventure; what an awesome opportunity and solution. Is SE Michigan too far of a drive?! 😉

    • #8698
      Renee Fourie
      Keymaster

      Greetings everyone!

      My name is Renee and I am the Outreach and Education Coordinator with RMSA. Welcome to Grain School Online!

      I reside in the North American Southwest in the lands of the Tohono O’odham and Hohokam peoples (Arizona), where my livelihood is supported by the canal system originally developed by the Hohokam without which myself, family, friends, neighbors, and other living creatures would have a difficult time surviving. I am a daughter of European and Southeast Asian immigrants, an explorer, athlete, plant and animal lover, dancer, gardener, and a seed saver. I look forward to becoming a grain grower.

      Here is a photo of my pride and joy last season: dill taller than me. You will see some bolting romaine, broccoli, and Nasturtium flowers in the background. Happy to connect with you all this course.

      Renee-dill

    • #8701
      Peggy Ahola
      Participant

      Hi, my name is Peggy. I have lived in Sedona, AZ since November 2016 but hail from Minnesota.  I have little experience growing grains. I made my first attempt by growing Hourani durum wheat this summer.  I just planted Tibetan Purple Barley this week.  I hope to learn about planting times, seed spacing, and harvesting.  I have been a gardener most of my adult life.

      • #8874
        frances_craik
        Keymaster

        Hi Peggy – seedy blessings to you and your barley! The Tibetan Purple is so dreamy. Thanks for sharing and we’re excited to have you join us on this journey into growing grains.

    • #8705
      colleen wimmer
      Participant

      Hi All! My name is colleen, though I go by c. I use they/them pronouns and reside on the lands of the Ute, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Apache, and Oceti Sakowin in so called Longmont, Colorado. I am so grateful to share this virtual learning space and community with you all! I have little to no experience growing grains though have just begun to delve into identifying plant relatives and am so blown away by this earth system. I am fascinated by corn and the process of nixtamilization, which would be so interesting to delve deeper into. I hope to deepen my relationship to grains, support the revitalization of the local grain system, and use my settler privilege to care for the land while working towards Land and Seeds Back to the Indigenous communities that have and currently steward this land. I am white, of Irish descent and am so curious which grains my ancestors had relationships with before processes of colonization and Catholicism introduced the potato… Cant wait to meet everyone, see you all soon!

      • #8875
        frances_craik
        Keymaster

        C, thanks for sharing your self with us! Welcome to the grain rabbit hole…be prepared to never go back! I too have similar intentions and motivations of seed stewardship – land and seed back movement and reconciling injustices through careful stewardship of land, seeds, and human relations. It’s a lifelong process. I got the pleasure of learning the corn nixtamalization process with Bill at our Grain School In a Day earlier this year. I’ll send you our recipe! Corn is fascinating…I have so much to learn. Thank you again!

    • #8712
      Pamela Barosso
      Participant

      Hi everyone!

      Very nice to meet you all.  My name is Pam Barroso and I hope to grow grains on a vacant lot which is situated on a fairly sunny spot in Pittsburgh, Pa ancestral lands of Seneca, Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, Lenape, Shawnee and others.  I have some gardening experience but I am generally a novice and new to growing grains. I have concerns about the shade from a nearby Walnut tree and close by buildings.  I hope to learn if I can be successful (soil test looked good) and will be happy if I can share what I learn with the local community.  I am not sure if I should till or use a no till method and have read that corn and wheat do especially well near walnut trees. I am also interested/considering planting Flax. Looking forward to the class and sharing together.

      • #8717
        Renee Fourie
        Keymaster

        Hi Pamela! Thanks for sharing your plot of land…hoping to see what you grow this season!

        And thanks for that quote showing who were stewards of the land in previous years.

    • #8715
      Jen deHaan
      Participant

      Hi everyone!

      I am Jen from Errington B.C. in Canada, Komoks, Kwalikum, and Snaw-naw-as territories. I have been a market gardener for a little bit, starting from scratch on this land in late 2017 using no dig stockfree practices from the beginning. I have always lived in the middle of large cities in very different climates without a yard, so moving to 10 acres has been a journey in itself.

      I shifted to growing for seed last year, and actively working on expanding our growing space this year. Lots of setbacks, like our heat dome in late June this year. Focus is on open source, landrace, and rare heritage varieties. Very interested in breeding for open source. Just started working on a tomato breeding project this year.

      I am very new to grains and grasses. This year I grew Opopeo Amaranth, and I have purple barley for next year. Looking forward to learning lots and meeting all you lovely people in this course!

      Amaranth

      • #8864
        Renee Fourie
        Keymaster

        That is a beautiful shot Jen. And I feel you on the setbacks — for me, it has been the best way to learn what NOT to do.

        Looking forward to learning more from you this session.

      • #9045
        Linda DeWitt
        Participant

        Beautiful amaranth, Jen – I’ve chosen it as my adopt a grain!

    • #8716
      Cody Pavlovick
      Participant

      Hello,

      My name is Cody Pavlovick and currently live on a 1/2 acre lot in a suburb in the North Metro Atlanta area. The last couple of years we have started gardening quite a bit and currently have about 7 4×8 raised beds and probably 100 grow bags of various sizes from 5 to 50 gallons. I have tried growing some ornamental wheat before without much luck. Amaranth and sorghum has done well and I plan to add millet and other grains next year. I plan on planting some wheat this fall.

      My background is, I grew up on a family farm and ranch in North Central Montana. We primarily raised cattle but also alfalfa hay along with field corn for silage and oats for cattle feed. There was also dry-land and irrigated wheat and barley and various other small grains.

      • #8876
        frances_craik
        Keymaster

        Hi Cody,

        Amaranth and Sorghum are such resilient crops, I’m not surprised that you’ve had success. Thanks for sharing your background. I am a first generation farmer and find it fascinating when people with farming backgrounds get interested in small scale grain growing. Thanks!

    • #8791
      Colbert
      Participant

      Hello,
      My name is Annette and I’m an urban gardener in Albuquerque New Mexico. I have grown amaranth and Einkorn. I would like to try Emmer and Barley.
      I would like to learn how much grain I can grow to use in my kitchen. I saved 2 TBSP of seed from the einkorn this year and will plant a larger crop next year

      • #8877
        frances_craik
        Keymaster

        Hi Annetee,

        If you haven’t yet, listen to the podcast between Bill McDorman and Greg Peterson to learn about growing enough grains to use in your kitchen! 1 seed can offer 200-500 seeds after harvest so the scale up potential is incredible! Do you have access to a de-huller? Or have you found an easily threshing einkorn variety?

    • #8797
      Mackenzie Shreve
      Participant

      Hello Everyone!

      So great to read about all the efforts and experiments going on.  I am Mackenzie and I live in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India.  This area is in the Southern Aravalis, a hilly area with pretty intense sun.  Though the city where I am located and immediate bordering areas have been pretty much urbanized, much of the region is the home of the Bhil tribal people among others.  They are facing a number of challenges due to land degradation, urbanization and the psychological pull cum economic pressure to modernize.  There are many other castes here as well — the Indian social system is pretty complicated, but suffice to say, tradition – be it in farming, food, or trades – though struggling, is not lost here.  I am originally from Omaha/Chicago and found myself in India trying to understand the role of American seed corporations immediately after college.  I found a lost more than I bargained for here and wound up staying longer to explore.  After getting married here, I stayed – been a little over 10 years now.

      I am just starting to work on a focused seed-saving effort because years of spending time in villages here as well as working with various NGOs has shown me that local seeds are under great pressure of disappearance in the face of well-funded efforts to promote hybrid seeds from grains to vegetables –even soy beans are being distributed by NGOs here to farmers with less than 1 acre of land who otherwise only grow enough food to eat — this causes deforestation as farmers look to expand their land for cash crops.  Needless to say, there are many compounding issues, but the hopeful part is that many older farmers still have local seeds and knowledge about them so my hope is to connect with these farmers and borrow some of their seed to continue to save and share.  I have no idea what I am doing.  I hope to learn a lot of context with practical examples in this course to help guide this endeavor and help me engage rural youth and elders in discussions on and growing local seeds.  Hoping to start with one or two good connections and a small space(s) for growing that I can also work on independently or with school students. Currently I only have pots on my roof and am doing a few small school gardens with semi-urban kids (who are crazy about sharing what’s growing in their villages!)

      Here millets were the traditional crops, namely finger millet, which is hard to find now having been replaced by wheat.  There are local varieties of corn that are fairly common, though farmers grow hybrid corn to sell in the market.  There are also other millet varieties I am trying to figure out the translations for as elders share the names in local dialects.  I hope that next year there will be seeds and sites to do some trials and seed-saving with grains, even in small 100 square foot plots.

      • #8866
        Renee Fourie
        Keymaster

        Thank you for sharing, and for your efforts out there. Sounds like you know what is needed: you need to learn how to grow and save seeds for millet! From what I have read, millet is far more drought-tolerant than wheat or corn, and it is better for the soil. Has it been rainier than normal? And curious, the seeds provided by NGOs etc, are they given freely?

      • #8878
        frances_craik
        Keymaster

        Mackenzie, you are on a journey of a lifetime – what deeply important work you are doing. I hope you find this program most supportive as you branch out to re-regionalize seed networks in India. I have been following the farmers protest in India and our friend, Indra Singh, just helped produce this rap that breaks down what is going on. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uv2xKlg1n6w

        Growing and saving seeds at any scale is worth doing, so thank you. Your story restores my hope in a future of agrarian people and community seed and food systems. It’s a slow game, but the most important one.

      • #9140
        Pamela Barosso
        Participant

        Hi again,

        I also wanted to share this video on Natabar Sarangi

        This was shared as part of a learning module I am taking with Sierra Seeds-by Rowan White.

    • #8798
      Pamela Barosso
      Participant

      Hi Mackenzie,

      Thanks for sharing the information from your region really interesting.  I support a few seed libraries and one is in an community, Monroeville, PA 15146 with a large Indian population.  Your post has inspired me to learn more about Indian regions and respective crops…grains, vegetables, roots etc to incorporate into work with my local community.  I am curious what the age range is for your kids that are anxious to share, and would be interested to learn more about what they are growing.  Here is a link to a website for a local Indian culinary teacher in our community https://www.poppingmustardseeds.com

    • #8960
      Jessy Swisher
      Participant

      Me in my garden this summer

      Hello folks!  My name is Jessy and I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  This is a photo of me in my garden this summer.  This is the first year I’ve ever had a garden, so I am super excited.  Although, I previously grew some grains at my college farm (amaranth, rye, and buckwheat).  In the garden here this year, I planted a milling corn, amaranth, huauzontle, and sorghum (it’s actually a sugar cane variety, so I hope I can find a DIY solution to press it!), and just planted some Purple Tibetan Barley to over-winter.  I had also planted more sorghum and a popcorn at a friend’s farm, but I hear the raccoons ate all the corn!  🙁  I also have some ancient and heritage wheat seeds that I have spread around to growers in my area: Turkey Red Hard Winter Wheat and an ancient bread wheat called Caucausus that I got from Eli Rogosa.

      I also started a networking group and communications platform for grain growers in my area, called the Pittsburgh Area Grain Growers Guild.  I am focused on smaller-scale growers, from backyard to community gardens and urban farms, but have also invited some larger scale farmers in my area to join in.  I just started the group this year, and will continue to expand outreach as time goes on.  We are newly establishing a demonstration plot of winter wheat at a local community garden or two to inspire and educate growers about the potential of grain growing.

      I look forward to connecting with others, learning more about seed saving, breeding, and small-scale processing techniques and equipment.

      • #9046
        Linda DeWitt
        Participant

        Wow Jessy, that’s an impressive first garden:)

    • #9004
      Anna Mieritz
      Participant

      Hi, I’m Anna and I live in coastal Northern California, traditional lands of the Ohlone, Muwekma, and Ramaytush, where temperatures rarely go above 70 degrees or below 50. I have been gardening most of my life and also bake bread, so learning more about grains seems a natural melding of the two. Two years ago I started growing flour corn in my small garden. This year I got permission from a neighbor to plant an empty lot and expanded to about 600 sq ft of corn (yet to be harvested!) among other crops which I share with neighbors.

      Pictured: me in my corn field, some of last year’s harvest, and a fresh loaf of bread.

    • #9181
      Rick Lass
      Participant

      Hi all,

      my name is Rick Lass and I live in southwestern New Mexico, in the Mimbres River valley. We have a smallish farm, about an acre, and I have generally just been growing annual vegetables. I also have a few fruit trees and berry patches.

      I am very interested in learning about grains, and reading all of your introductions has been inspiring.

      In addition to growing food, I am involved with the local seed library and the native plant society. There are several native grains/grasses that I am considering growing here next season, including Apache red Grass and Sacaton.

      I participated in the Seed Saving Teacher Training this spring and am looking forward to learning more about grains.

    • #9512
      Yvette Henson
      Participant

      I’m Yvette Henson. I live and work in sw Colorado, near Norwood. I am an Extension Agent for Colorado State University Extension. I: have 2 degrees: BS in Plant Science & MS in Horticulture. I garden at 8,400′ and love teaching people how to grow their own food and how to save seeds.

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