organic grains and innovation on GH radio

posted January 16, 2017

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Listen to the podcast here!

Ben Dobson grew up in Hillsdale, New York, on a small organic farm and started his first agricultural business in 2001. After two years on his own, he joined forces with his father Ted Dobson and managed the fields at his salad and tomato farm in Sheffield, MA, from 2003 through 2006. Since then Ben has started, managed, and overseen the sale of two agricultural businesses: One of which, Atlantic Organics, founded in 2007, was the largest organic vegetable farm in the state of Maine. The other, a company called Locally Known LLC, founded in 2008, was a salad processing company that sold pre-packaged ready to eat salads to Whole Foods Market, Hannaford Bros. and Trader Joe’s supermarkets in the Northeast and Mid Atlantic regions.

In 2013, Ben joined Stone House Farm as the Organic Transition Manager, and in 2016 he became their Farm Manager. He planned and oversaw the implementation of an organic transition on the 2,200-acre Stone House Farm property, and developed a non-GMO feed and grain business to sell their grain. The farm is now expanding its grain operation to include organic grain from other farms in the region.

Ben also heads Hudson Carbon: a research project conducting long term research across several sites on Stone House Farm and two neighboring farms. Hudson Carbon monitors the economic impacts and ecological effects of organic farming systems regarding carbon sequestration. Collaborators in this project include the Rodale Institute, The Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, and Scenic Hudson. This winter Hudson Carbon will be launching a website with sections dedicated to farmers, science, and the public.


need your comments: new fda rules may cut ties between brewers and farmers.

posted March 28, 2014

Comment HERE. The public comment period ends Monday, March 31st! 

From the Bangor Daily News:

America’s booming brewing industry and farmers alike are bothered and befuddled by a proposed U.S. Food and Drug Administration rule change that could alter a partnership that dates back to Neolithic times.

To the farmer, spent grains are a valuable dietary supplement for their livestock. It’s common for breweries to reach out to local farms to offer up their spent grains as animal feed. Most often, farmers are happy to oblige, picking up the spent grains themselves a few times per week. Little or no money exchanges hands during these deals. Brewers are glad to get rid of the grain, and farmers are glad to take it off their hands.

The proposed rule is aimed at “ensuring the safety of animal food for animals consuming the food and ensuring the safety of animal food for humans handling the food, particularly pet food,” according to the FDA.

It requires facilities producing animal food to have written plans that identify hazards, specify steps to minimize those hazards, and monitor and record the safety of the feed.

“FDA understands that many breweries and distilleries sell spent grains … as animal food. Because those spent grains are not alcoholic beverages themselves, and they are not in a prepackaged form that prevents any direct human contact with the food, the Agency tentatively concludes that subpart C of this proposed rule would apply to them,” according to the FDA rule.

Most small and medium-sized brewers wouldn’t be able to follow these rules without significant investment. Breweries that want to send their spent grains to farmers would have to dry, package and analyze the grains, all without it touching human hands. These efforts would cost brewers money, time and resources, making it too much of a hassle for some to continue partnerships with farmers, according to critics. (Read the entire article —> HERE)

Comments are needed HERE!

To view the complete rule, visit http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm366510.htm.

For the FDA fact sheet on the rule, visit http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm366510.htm#facsheet.

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wonderful new grains company

posted March 5, 2014

Community Grains.  Read on for information on their conference this weekend, and register HERE

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2014 Conference on the Development of Our Local Whole-Grain Economy
Community Grains
Sunday, March 9, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM (PDT), Oakland, CA

A Progress Report & To-Do List

Morning
Intact Whole Grain–Why Is It Important?
Presenters:

Michael Pollan, Professor, Graduate School of Journalism, UC, Berkeley, author, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation–What I’ve learned about grain. Where does it lead?

David Jacobs, PhD, Professor, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota–Food synergy and food patterns: are whole foods more than the sum of their individual nutrients and bioactive substances?

David W. Killilea, PhD, Staff Scientist, Nutrition and Metabolism Center, Children’s Hospital Oakland Institute–If you take it apart, can you put it back together? Knowing what’s in your flour. (more…)