Dear friends and fans of flour,
I invite you to become Flour Ambassadors. Since you are reading this, I know you are already representing our unnamed country. Loaf by loaf, pie by pie, baking escorts flour back into the good graces of people who are doubting gluten.1
I invented this campaign to shine a light on the wonders of fresh stone-ground flour and help build regional grain economies. Like farmers’ markets, mills are the levers that growers need to put something new in the ground. Commodity systems set the stage for farmers, millers, and bakers—determining what seed varieties are grown, how they are sold, and how they are milled.
If eaters and bakers want more choices, like alternative grains, heritage grains, and stone milling, we have to support regional systems all the way back to the field.
At The Kneading Conference in Skowhegan (Maine), in July 2016, two hundred people stood up and put their hands over their hearts to proclaim the Flour Ambassador Pledge. Now, I’m inviting you to join the movement.
Together we can build an appetite for—and awareness of—flours that come from somewhere and someone.
Your Civil Servant in Grains,
P.S. Please join me in tagging images with #flourambassador, and @flourambassador on social media. Name your farmer or mill, too.**
THE FLOUR AMBASSADOR PLEDGE
I do solemnly, happily swear,
that I am going to tell everyone I see
that it’s okay to love flour!
Bread is not poison,
Invisibility is poison.
I will try to make visible
all the labor in bread,
from seed to mill,
from mill to loaf.
Mills are the levers farmers need
to get more interesting grains in the ground,
and on our tables,
and under our butter.
Because butter is terrific and bread is our family tree,
It is time to put the family pictures back in the album,
put the album back on the mantelpiece,
and get acquainted with grains and flour again.
- Please note that I am not being flip about the real challenges people face with bread and wheat. Rather, I am addressing the tendency I see in America to huddle around food fears. I grew up as the food industry, fueled by nutritionism, nudged people to doubt eggs, fat and salt; now these foods are coming back into vogue, as is bread.