The New Bread Basket w/ author Amy Halloran


12:00 am - 2:00 am

Event Type

Troy author and activist Amy Halloran will speak about her new book “The New Bread Basket: How the New Crop of Grain Growers, Plant Breeders, Maltsters, Bakers, Brewers, and Local Food Activists Are Redefining Our Daily Loaf” at The Sanctuary for Independent Media at 7 PM on Thursday, November 12, 2015.  Homemade pancakes with syrup will be served!  Admission to the all ages event is by donation ($10 suggested, $5 student/low income).  Call (518) 272-2390, or email [email protected] for more information.

“The New Bread Basket” tells the story of how a radical new band of grain pioneers—farmers, millers, bakers, brewers and maltsters—are reinventing community grain systems and reintroducing grains as a local food crop.

Grains have been the staple of Western civilization for centuries. Ancient grains can be credited with settling down and “civilizing” our nomadic ancestors, and the symbolism of wheat and bread—amber waves of grain, the staff of life— still carries great meaning in our society. Yet, the processes behind grain production have become largely invisible, relegated to distant industrialized factories.

In “The New Bread Basket” Amy Halloran channels her four-decade obsession with pancakes into an exploration of regional grain production, and she introduces readers to dozens of people who are reconnecting us to local grains: From a couple in Massachusetts who opened the first malthouse in New England in 100 years to a researcher at Washington State University developing a model to support grain growing outside of the traditional wheat belt.

Such pioneering projects allow consumers to turn away from factory bread and beer and return the production of these goods to a scale that respects people, local communities, and the health of the environment.

Today’s commodity grain industry has led many Americans to avoid eating gluten and carbohydrates. Yet our shared history with grains—from scythes to combines, from the village baker to Wonder Bread—suggests that changes in farming and processing could be the real reason grains have become suspect in popular nutrition. By returning to traditional methods like long sourdough fermentations, bakers could help address some of the dietary ills attributed to wheat.

“The New Bread Basket” reveals the village that stands behind every loaf and every pint. This book is a salute to the people making our foundational crops visible, and vital, once again.

Amy Halloran has been following the revival of the regional grain movement in the Northeast for several years. She writes about food and agriculture for newspapers, websites, and magazines such as Edible Finger Lakes, Culinate, and Food Safety News. Her involvement in local food systems began with the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market, which grew under her care into a fifty-vendor year-round market. Halloran teaches food justice at Russell Sage College, and her students partner with Capital District Community Gardens urban farm, The Produce Project. She lives in Troy, New York.

This event is made possible by volunteer labor, small financial contributions from thousands of patrons of The Sanctuary for Independent Media and support from the New York State Council on the Arts.

The Sanctuary for Independent Media is a telecommunications production facility dedicated to community media arts, located in a historic former church at 3361 6th Avenue in Troy, NY. The Sanctuary hosts screening, production and performance facilities, training in media production and a meeting space for artists, activists and independent media makers of all kinds.


photo by Ellie Markovitch