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Ancient & Heritage Grain Seed Trials 2020

Over the past two years we planted seeds from the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance Grain Trials in Hawaiian soil. Our goal with Go Farm as our collaborator was to increase the seed for future grows and see what grew well in Hawaii's climate. We received a good amount of seed from the test trial. The birds sure like the wheat too (not helpful!!).

Heritage and landrace grains are important for a healthy food system. The concept of feeding ourselves is essential and reducing imports to the state of Hawaii is imperative. Voyaging Foods' outreach and education arm will be joining in the Hawaii trials so please stay tuned to this exciting project. 

Being an administrator and part-time grower in this project has personal importance to me as someone who is "gluten-intolerant". I haven't eaten wheat in over a decade. I started Voyaging Foods as a way to create more access and availability for alternative flours such as the underutilized canoe-plant flours. Learning how plants and food is grown has been the silver lining to starting a food company. The plants and food are only as healthy as the soil it is grown in so if you aren't tending to the soil first, then the food will suffer in nutrients.

I learned that I had a glyphospate poisoning and that vilifying wheat was the band-aid to the wound. Growing wheat you can eat starting with the heritage varieties is where this project will start. The ending will be the first wheat I'll eat in over a decade.

The focus of the heritage grain trials will be on a diverse array of grains and we have been part of a trial with the intention of assessing their performances in various climates and weather conditions. Some of these varieties have proven in early trials to be more adaptive than others.

The goal is to get broader yet more focused data on specific traits of adaptation, which will help educate and encourage more garden and farm growing of these grains. Next step will be nutritional and flavor analysis of the leading contenders. The varieties we are trialing here include soft white and hard red spring wheats, which offer options for tasty whole wheat breads, tortillas, and pies-great varieties for the field and in the kitchen!

For 2020, we are at it again! This time Thrive Farm is our collaborator in this trial. This partnership brings increased transparency and connection, neighbor to neighbor and community to community, helping develop locally adapted, resilient, and relevant varieties for our present and future.

The stewardship of seeds is a basic human responsibility that we, as a modern society, have been disconnected from. With the increase in food allergies and sensitivities to gluten, it is time to reclaim wheat-the wheat you can eat!

To be able to grow and share seeds is a gift. I want to keep the reciprocal relationship growing, so to speak, therefore have taken part in another year of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance Heritage Grain Trials-yet in Hawaii!

My intention is also to be able to grow wheat that you can eat. I've eaten a gluten-free diet for over a decade and plan to eat wheat again when I am able to grow, harvest, process, ferment and bake my own bread. 

Most of the seeds I'm planting with Thrive Farms are in very limited supply so our trials are very small scale.

This video below shows the record keeping system the seed growers are communicating our findings and trials. Wouldn't it be great if there were more ancient wheat varieties grown with regenerative farming practices and flour was plentiful in everyone's pantry.

Friday, September 11 5 pm Jason of Thrive Farms prepped the soil with fish bone meal and compost for the grain. The beds are 130 feet long and 30" wide and the irrigation is with drip tape on an automatic feeder. We plan to dose heavily with water the first 10 days. 

hawaiian farming field

We planted two rows with two different varieties in each row.

Here's our breakown of seeds and how we planted them: Ancient Wheat: Emmer, Einkorn, Iraq Durum. Heritage Wheat: Jammu, Sonoran White, Pima Club.

Our objective is to use organic practices! From 100 seeds we plan to produce up to 1/2 lb of seeds for next year's trials and send at least 200 seeds per variety back to the RMSA seed share to disperse to other farmers.


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