11 May, 2016 Newsletter

11 May 2016

…the Catholic concept of vicarious payment which has become, in Sicily, a cardinal dogma of the agonizing religion of the family. The guilty ransomed by the innocent.

Leonardo Sciascia

Our emails, once a week, will keep New Orleanians informed about the State of Grain in our city and our region. As you know, Bellegarde is the only bakery in between Asheville and Arizona that stone-mills its own flour. We strive to source organic grains that we mill fresh and bake into healthy and delicious whole grain breads. We are convinced that the health issues which plague our city—obesity, violence, mis-education, ecological and cultural erosion—are bound to the lack of fresh food. Food access is a systemic Policy issue: everyday that we bake whole grain bread with freshly milled flour, we tweak one more nerve in the System. Each nerve pinch is our desire to re-establish our region as a self-efficient food economy and re-create the cuisine of New Orleans with fresh ingredients…a revolutionary Gordian knot.

We all speak the language of food and we all seek the pleasure of flavor. What more perfect medium to communicate change than with bread? Pandering to demand in a regional food system is not as important as nurturing supply: quality will dictate quantity.

Help us democratize that staff of life.

Summer Practicum: I am extremely happy to announce that Bellegarde has an intern from the Tulane School of Public Health. Together, we will be working on a research project with the intent of re-establishing a regional grain hub. That includes diagnosing multiple facts, angles, tangents, and targets. Supreme among them is the reality that one in four children in New Orleans are food insecure; that the top three of four “crops” grown in Louisiana are non-edible; and that the largest percentage of the Louisiana state budget goes towards Public Health.

We hope to shift the paradigm towards preventative health, responsible consumption, agricultural integrity, and equity/access for all local and organic foods. The focus of our City and State must shift from demand and now nuzzle supply. More food stamps and public assistance and St. Roch Markets are not the solution: more farms, more bakers, more gardeners, more nutrition, more land, more respect is the solution. Chemicals, subsidies, prescriptions, corporations, and pesticides are not. We will no longer participate in an equation which values consumption over production, nor will we accept privatization of public health.

Empowerment, dignity, tradition, and democracy are not values nor goals: thems is the facts of life. Angela Davis is a mentor always as she reminds:

“Radical simply means grasping something at the roots.”

Oklahoma Trip: In August I will be traveling to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater to participate in a first ever conversation amongst growers, wheat breeders, marketers, millers, and bakers in our region. My trip is being sponsored by the Oklahoma Wheat Commission which represents all growers of that state’s most cultivated agricultural product. I will be baking with freshly stone-milled, Oklahoma-grown wheat in many forms at the Commission’s new facility. I could not be more happy to have found eager, willing ears who want to understand and re-discover this new facet of the potential economy: organic, regional, stone-milled whole grain breads. It will be a true honor and blessing to meet such men and women in Oklahoma. (LSU, after seven years of trying too hard, I have to say adieu).

Staff: Bellegarde is looking for a full time baker beginning early July. Our head baker Brett is going back to college! I know, I know. Click the link here for more info, and send your resume, or someone else’s, to me bellegardebakery@gmail.com

Father Berrigan: Father Daniel Berrigan passed away last Saturday at the age of 94. He had and will continue to have a compelling influence upon my life and bakery. A link on a piece about his life can be found here…Berrigan. And a link to his importance can be found here…Berrigan

Retail Bread: Please send me an email at bellegardebakery@gmail.com if you’d be interested in picking up bread from the bakery; we currently bake our country bread Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; we’ve also begun to bake a beautiful whole-grain RYE BREAD on Wednesdays. Pick up is available from 7am until 1pm on any of those days. $9/each.

Soul Food

“to achieve harmony in bad taste is the height of elegance.”

Jean Genet