May 18, 2016 Newsletter

May 18 2016

“We’re trying to farm in harmony with nature, like our ancestors did, instead of trying to outsmart it. [Acknowledging the increases in kidney and liver disease, as well as in cancer, autism, childhood obesity, and allergies, over the past 60 years]. It’s our belief that agricultural practices affect our nation’s health, or the lack thereof.”

Lee Jones, Farmer

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.

~ ~ ~ ~

New Blog: At the end of May, Bellegarde is slightly raising prices on its whole grain country and ciabatta breads due an increase in the cost of our organic, identity preserved wheats and our work of milling flour. The cost of our baguettes will not be affected. I got an email from a local chef explaining that they were going to begin making bread in house because of our decision to charge eighty cents more for a 3 pound loaf of organic, whole grain bread made with Texas-grown olive oil. I wrote him a response, published here, and want to share it. Compared to What?  I wrote with the intention to share some experiences about our work as a whole, not just through a financial lens. I believe that the more people who understand what we do, why we do it, when, and how will have less and less trouble accepting the value of our work. It is, like racism (forgive the farfetched analogy), only those with minimal exposure who don’t comprehend; who are fearful; who don’t accept. The more you see, the more you visit and meet and experience, the less difference and the more bonds are built.

bridges connect land, not air.

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.”

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

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, & 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

” ’till we be roten,
kan we not by rypen”

Geoffrey Chaucer

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