14 Mar, 2016 Newsletter

14 March 2016

Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people. Nonviolence holds that evildoers are also victims.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr from his Principles of Nonviolence

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.

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Updated Website: I’ve put some new photos and information on our website. Here’s the new Travel section.

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.

Pizza Night: Trying to make this a habit, without the help of RJ Reynolds…Pizza night at Paradigm Gardens—we are doing two pizza nights this Spring with greater intentions for Autumn. Our first event is March 20th: BELLEGARDE will be baking whole grain, wood-fired pizzas with fresh vegetables grown on the farm and cheese from St James.

Bread Classes: Our next bread class will be held on May 1, 2016, at the bakery from noon to 6pm. They fill up quickly, so please email me immediately if you’re interested. Due to the positive response for the first course, we will be covering the same introductory information in the second course. …I am very happy to announce that BELLEGARDE will be hosting bread classes once a month beginning this April. Classes will be on Sundays at the Bakery, from noon to 6pm, and everything will be provided: lunch, breads to take home, equipment, and flour. The purpose of the class is to democratize bread. That means we’ll only use equipment found in typical home kitchens and no tool will be fancy: we want the pleasure of our craft to be opened and appreciated by everyone willing to take a patient crack. No kitchen aids, no mystique, no gimmicks or cookbooks: pleasure can’t be bought. We’ll mill flour in house and the classes will be conducted by Graison and another Bellegarde baker. Classes are reserved to 12 spaces and tickets are $120 each, completely inclusive. Food industry folks and culinary students (NOCCA, Delgado) will receive 30% off in order to encourage the beauty of continuing education.

Blog: A new blog was posted last week…see below for an excerpt.

I was tempted to say that I saw another side of America this week. I was lured by the indulgence of refraction, of division, of quilting: of segregation. When we draw boundaries—in chalk on in blood or in words—around ourselves, our communities, and our values there is less to fear. In the same way that we eat with fork and knife, we’ve been conditioned to build walls and we’ve been shampooed to maintain them into adulthood. If you notice, deeply, a child has not only innocence intact, but equality intact. The sandbox is not a place of discrimination, ever. I’ve never seen a child, without the influence of an adult, imprecate race or ‘otherness’ against another. It is a social, learned, and artificial behavior to castigate, ostracize, and shun. It is, in other words, only what grown ups do. And that is revealed in the burden of time.

I spent the week visiting a 5000 acre organic farm in the Black Belt of Alabama. It was an experience pregnant with Southern stereotypes: gothic, romantic, poverty, division, history. I walked through Flannery O’Connor’s garden with plenty of metaphorical peacocks, saw the candles burning in daylight. As I spent the time in these places—Marion, Selma, Montgomery, Greensboro, Demopolis—I was reminded that I was in one of the Union’s poorest states, in their poorest counties. The Black Belt; a pejorative, but so named because of the area’s rich, black, alluvial soil. Left when this area used to be a coast. It is also, besides rich in folk craft and pride in culture, the birthplace of the Black Panther Party and the crowning jewel, if there could be precious stones, of the Civil Rights Movement. This Deep South is a cradle of liberation, a grave of oppression, and the womb of love’s glory.

…The proof of gravity’s existence is our fear of it: of falling, of letting go. The more we relinquish, skirt, swerve away from the fundamental embrace of love, the more inconclusive our identities will grow. The success of the Civil Rights Movement was the willingness to let go. Unrequited faith. Vulnerability: these women and men put themselves into a fire because they knew their love, their presence was water. The had to be twice as strong, twice as patient, twice as disciplined, twice as peaceful, and twice compassionate in order to dislodge the system. And relinquishing strength, trust me, does not betray weakness. Flames will rage until the Kingdom Comes, but water like love will never be dry. Water will always triumph, always smother flame. The catharsis of smoke, its hiss…

Essay: And So The Heart Is The Strongest Muscle

Soul Food

naïve intention, for my sister.
when we are hurt, the desire is not to hurt back. It is to heal, to grow: the wound is immediately curated to heal the minute it is born. We are not meant to hurt forward, to hurt back, but to suture. The compulsion of pain is cure, heart and soul. The pain that we allow to continue is the one we do not allow to heal. Wings are not the wisdom to fly.

necklace and memory bank.
Money is an umbrella that people hold up againt pain. It is so easy to acquire and to lose—so what’s its value? Money is a wall to feeling, bricks of mistrust built Babel-like towards being away. Men and women of character—of flesh, of moral vlaue—are the ones we cherish most, celebrate most, suture most. Money and its pursuit are a substitute of love, its acquisition and bonding. Money is a cheap way to buy the love we fear to earn. What comes is what we seek least, and pecase is the burden of time. Memory is the currecny of time, and we’ll never remember money, but only the moments around it. We sleep with our hearts, not our wallets.