A thriving regional food system requires a number of sustainable and pro table components: farmers and producers, processing and distribution systems, and outlets to consumers and markets at the end. This site visit will explore efforts to cultivate a healthy local foodshed in the Spokane region and highlight many of the exciting efforts taking place at all levels along this continuum.
We’ll start the day at the three-acre Vets on the Farm demonstration farm, a program of the Spokane Conservation District that equips veterans with small-scale food production skills through a relationship with Washington State University Spokane County Extension and Spokane Community College. The program is creating a pipeline and network of new small farmers and contributing to the development of a new agricultural corridor in south Spokane. We’ll speak with vets participating in the program to learn about their transformative experiences, and have a chance to get our hands dirty by helping with the summer harvest or in the greenhouse.
On the processing and distribution side, we’ll learn about LINC Foods. While it could be seen as a food hub like many others across the country, LINC Foods has also developed as a farmers’ cooperative and utilized a number of different creative integrated capital approaches to financing their business. In addition to providing food hub aggregation and distribution services, LINC Foods is unique in its creation of a malting business, Palouse Pint, that serves the unique needs of the many grain farmer-owners of its co-op. You’ll tour the malt house, learn about their business structure, and a bit about the how and why their structure is allowing them to reach profitability three to five years earlier than they might have otherwise. Don’t know what malting is? Don’t worry—you’ll know plenty by the end of the day!
We’ll close out the day by visiting the Grain Shed, a regional collaboration and cooperative venture between a baker, a pair of brewers, and a farmer. We’ll meet up with participants from the Pathways to Impact through Grain Production site visit to swap stories while enjoying beer and bread made with Palouse Pint’s grain malt. You’ll get a taste of just how flavorful a healthy local foodshed can be.
Vets on the Farm, Spokane, WA
● Vicki Carter, director, Spokane Conservation District
● Patricia Munts, extension coordinator, urban horticulture, Washington State University Spokane County Extension
LINC Foods and Palouse Pint, a project of LINC Foods, Spokane, WA
● Brian Estes, procurement and logistics, LINC Foods
● Dan Jackson, sales and marketing director, LINC Foods
● Joel Williamson, co-founder, member-owner, and maltster, LINC Foods; brewer, The Grain Shed
The Grain Shed, Spokane, WA
● Teddy Benson, brewer
● Don Scheuerman, farmer, Palouse Colony Farm, Endicott, WA
● Shaun Thompson Duffy, chef, miller, and baker