Eat Local Challenge

“Natured to be commanded must be obeyed.”
Francis Bacon

When: Sunday 12 June 2016. 2pm
Who: Graison S. Gill of Bellegarde
What: Tour and Tasting of Bellegarde Bakery, the Deep South’s only whole grain mill and bakery

ELC’s Mission: To raise awareness of the nutritional, economic, environmental, and cultural benefits of eating locally sourced foods.

Bellegarde’s Mission: Democracy—to democratize, by any means necessary—access and supply of fresh, organic, regionally-grown, and whole grain foods. If you have the privilege to know right from wrong, it is your moral imperative to practice, not preach, integrity.

Preamble: The best way to restore justice and foster equality is to remediate the land. Respect for ourselves derives from respect for nature, our soil, first and last. If we do not respect the system of life, we will have no moral ecology. Nature is a church and its rhythm a prayer. The democracy of food, that most basic human right, is the stewardship of our humanity. If we do not regain control of our food’s narrative—its quality, origin, price, preparation—we will become victims instead of protagonists. If we do not make affordable access to fresh, healthy, organic food the premise of our new system—if it remains distant, contrived, boutique—we will duplicate the systems of oppression we seek to usurp.


1.    Where does grain come from? The anatomy of a loaf of bread and its deconstruction—growth, distribution, milling, storing, baking, commodity trading. Tasting and the importance of analytical versus qualitative judgments.
2.    Where does bread come from? Its history, tradition in New Orleans, and its future.
3.    Tour of our stone mill and facility.
4.    Why we cannot apply the Eat Local Challenge to whole grains (except rice): discussion of agricultural products in Louisiana; policy level failure; lack of support among chefs; lack of support of farmers markets; Dryades Market and St Roch Market examples.
5.    Supply and Demand in the regional food system. Is it enough to just buy food “made” nearby? Where do its ingredients comes from? How is it processed.
6.    What Bellegarde does. Regional grain hub and work with OSU, LSU, WSU, national millers and growers and bakers. Congress of Ecology.


•    It costs about $0.07 to grow one pound of wheat (non-organic)
•    Port of New Orleans exports about 2/3 of the wheat produced in the United States
•    One in every five calories people around the world eat comes from wheat
•    The Land Grant Act of 1862 was meant to foster regional and organic small-scale
agriculture that was state sponsored, sanctioned, and supported
•    The largest percentage of Louisiana’s budget (39%) goes to “Public Health.” This is re-active
medicine: drugs, diagnosis, pills, medication—no proactive, no pre-natal. $3212.77 annual
per resident.
•    There are NO CERTIFIED organic farms in the state of Louisiana
•    Louisiana has four growing seasons
•    1% of the American population grows food for the rest of us.
•    40% of food in America is wasted.
•    27% of children in Louisiana live below the poverty line.
•    Top 4 of 5 Louisiana crops are non-edible (feed corn, ethanol soybeans, cotton, feed
wheat, rice)
•    Wheat is a complete food, containing everything from fiber to protein and iron to
polyunsaturated fats and amino acids
•    Louisiana’s wetlands compromise about 40% of the wetlands of the continental United
•    There is a dead zone the size of the Hawaiian Islands 50 miles from this discussion
•    Corn and soybeans—both non-edible crops—contribute the gross quantity of necrotic
nitrogen responsible for the deadzone
•    Louisiana’s 3,000,000 acres of wetlands are lost at the rate of 75 square kilometers
annually—one football field per day.
*contributing factors are agriculture (pesticides, fertilizers, grazing, nitrogen); development; hydrocarbon exploitation (oil industries); recreational fishing.

Problem: Not enough access to or support of the supply side of food’s demand: public, private, or wholesale

Solution: Encourage, support, re-stimulate regional food production (transportation, storage, processing, consumption, etc.

Core Values: we have a fiduciary commitment to our community to feed it well