The Kootenay Grain Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Project  is one of the greatest Kootenay-created initiatives for food and sustainability. This year’s harvest was great for some crops and around 50% of expected for Kamut and Spelt. We are yet to open any of our bags of grain or lentils, as we are still making our way through last year’s harvest.

The CSA pickup at Elisons in Nelson went smoothly, but since then, it appears that some of the wheat from one farm was temporarily stored in a grain bin that had a few remnant treated barley seeds, which are not for consumption. The CSA organizers have taken a strong stance on this issue, first asking people to check their grain for treated seeds, and now asking people to participate in a recall of the seed…

Hello Kootenay Grain CSA members.

In the interest of responsible mangement and member safety, the farmers and organizers of the Kootenay Grain CSA have decided that our best course of action in this event of possible grain contamination is to issue a COMPLETE RECALL OF ALL HUSCROFT FARM HARD RED SPRING WHEAT. This is really the only way we can ensure that you, our members, do not receive contaminated grain. While very few treated seeds have been found in the bagged grain, we are certain that some of the hard spring wheat did come into contact with a storage bin that once held chemically treated seed. We do not wish to take any risks with the health and safety of our members so have decided that even if you have checked your hard red spring wheat and found no treated seeds, the safest plan is for us to take back all of the Huscroft hard red spring wheat and offer a replacement or refund.

We would like to replace your hard spring wheat with hard red winter wheat (essentially the same wheat) from the Lawrence Farm (they have a surplus of winter wheat), or provide a refund of $25 per bag of hard red spring wheat. In order for us to determine if you want a replacement or a refund we ask that you contact us via email, if you have not already done so. In your email please indicate how many bags of Huscroft hard red spring wheat you have. To help ensure that the exchange/refund process is done in a timely manner, we ask that you please contact us right away.

[ad#200-left]I’d like to believe that this grain could be used as seed for next year’s CSA crops, I’ve asked the question, we’ll see what they plan to do with the grain. I also informed them that we were not overly concerned with the potential “contamination”, but understand the need to maintain quality, and perhaps more importantly, the perception of quality. The grain is not certified organic, but is grown without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers in the Creston Valley. This step ensures the trust and respect of those who buy the grain from this CSA, and from the second year of operations, it is clear that there is a bright future for this model of farming in the Kootenays. Eating pancakes, bagels, naan bread, baguettes or cinnamon buns made from local, freshly ground flour is a culinary delight, and one that gives honest employment to farmers who never realized that there were people “out there” that cared about their livelihood and the future of farming in the Kootenays.

Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.

3 replies on “Kootenay Grain CSA 2009”

  1. I for one appreciate the transparency of the Kootenay Grain CSA even though I am not yet a member. it is reassuring to know that there are some ethical people out there.

  2. We’re still waiting to hear about the testing for the dwarf bunt fungus. Because we’re outside the RDCK, we weren’t able to pick up our grain due to the CFIA quarantine. So a couple of hiccups this year, but we’re still looking forward to getting the grain and lentils.

  3. It was enlivening and heartening to read these responses to the CSA (as one of the growers). The contaminated seed shouldn’t be used for planting on any of our farms, but could potentially be fed to livestock (which we all have). We have encouraged all the growers to become locally certified with KLAS (Kootenay Local Agricultural Society), a low carbon footprint, sustainable agriculture organization with organic standards. The dwarf bunt was resolved (with one farmer being tested positive, in one of his crops) and his grain was replaced with grain from another farm. It was only an issue if planted anyway, but regulations……well……..they’re challenging. Thanks to all who have participated in helping this project through the growing pains.

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