The Learning Council and VOGA teamed up to offer a class on cultivating heirloom grain, at Thistle Whistle Farm in Hotchkiss. Mike Chamas shared techniques for dry land grain farming as well as varieties of grain that do well in our climate.

Eric Darby demonstrated how to harvest grain using a scythe and Mike Showed How to use a sickle scythe. We are all now waiting for the great grain show down between these men and their tools from field to table.

The growing and processing of heirloom grain is both the wave of the future and a blast from the past that in the North Fork could bring back the days of grain production ( we learned that Redlands Mesa was once covered in grain), while at the same time meeting the trend of heirloom grains for more nutrition and better digestion. Mike noted that some folks with gluten intolerance can digest heirloom grain without a problem.

Molly Moore brought some of her wheat to show the process of removing the grain from the wheat stalk and winnowing the grain. She also shared the value of a large tribe or family for the harvesting and processing of grain as well as the possibilities of feeding the tribe through a fairly small plot of grain.

Community education encouraging and teaching sustainability and community is a goal for the Learning Council and VOGA. We are grateful to Mike for sharing his knowledge, experience and easy going outlook with us. And thanks to Mark who grew several beautiful rows of wheat and barley as a demonstration for this class and provided the beautiful venue for our learning.

Also thanks to the many great folks who attended representing all of the North Fork and the front range as well.

And thanks to VOGA for the great season of collaboration on community agricultural education in the gift model, making education available to all while promoting sustainable community and lifestyle.

Photos by Jim Brett. Select an image to experience a slideshow.