Island Grains


No time for Workshops in 2011, 2012!

Back in the lazy, hazy days before our vegetable farm consumed our lives (and our land!) we still had time to offer workshops, but now that we eat, sleep and breathe veggies we rarely have time to spread the grain gospel in person.

That's actually not a sad thing because we've found that, with more and more Islanders growing grains, it makes sense to pool our knowledge and share experiences rather than "instruct."

Therefore, this website. is a central, free resource for those interested in small-scale grain production, and our goal is for it to be used by new and long-time grain growers to share experiences/tips/cautions, and to make connections within our community. Please post your comments to help and inspire other grainies!

In that spirit of sharing, here are the slides for our PowerPoint presentation, and here's the handout from back in the day when we presented workshops.

2010 CSA Workshop Series

Island Grains presented "Grow Your Own Pancakes" at Victoria's Seedy Saturday on February 20, 2010.

Sunday, April 18, 2010: Grains 101
Veteran grain growers Dan Jason, Mike Doehnel and Brock McLeod share their knowledge of small-scale grain growing.
DAN JASON: Dan returns to Island Grains to share his passion for Marquis wheat and other grains. Dan is the founder of Salt Spring Seeds and the Seed & Plant Sanctuary for Canada.
MIKE DOEHNEL: Mike updates us on his adventures in growing and using malting barleys.
BROCK MCLEOD: Brock explains what he's done to date on the Island Grains CSA plots at Makaria Farm and his experiments with fall/winter vs. spring planting.

Sunday, August 29, 2010: Harvest Day & Thresh-Fest 2010
In a whacky combination of small-scale and large-scale grain production, we're harvesting Red Fife wheat, hard white spring wheat and rye with scythes, loading it into trucks, convoying it to Josh Mellor's family farm, and manually feeding it through a combine. The reward: 40lbs per shareholder of organically-grown, local grains!

Sunday, October 17, 2010: Whole Grains in the Kitchen
Cindy Dreger teaches us about wheat grass, wheat berries, sprouted grains, and how to make yummy food from our whole grains (e.g. casseroles, salads, crackers/bread).
CINDY DREGER: Currently studying at the Integrative Nutrition Institute in New York, Cindy teaches a workshop called "let your food be your medicine." She sold sprouted alternative grain baking at the farmer's market for three years, works at the Community Farm Store in Duncan, teaches yoga, and has a background in farming.

Sunday, November 14, 2010: Milling Day
Beloved local organic bakery True Grain Bread invites Island Grains participants to get their wheat and rye stone-milled. Owner/miller Bruce Stewart explains what makes different wheats great for baking.

2009 Workshop Series

Sunday, March 8, 2009: Introduction to Grains
Dan Jason, Helen Reid and Robert Giardino visit us to inspire and educate about the different kinds of grains and their varied uses.
DAN JASON: This local seed guru has a special affection for small-scale grains. Dan is the founder of Salt Spring Seeds and the Seed & Plant Sanctuary for Canada.
ROBERT GIARDINO: Robert is the Executive Director of the Heritage Grains Foundation, as well as the founder of Lilikoi Specialty Foods, an importer and distributor specializing in heritage, organic, GMO-free products.
HELEN REID: Helen has been growing, processing and eating quinoa in the Cowichan Valley for eight years.
*Special thanks to the Corfield Cafe and the Community Farm Store for providing lunch for our speakers!

Sunday, April 19, 2009: Grain Planting Party!
Mike Doehnel and Tom Henry come up from the Saanich Peninsula to motivate us with tales of their own grain-growing (and beer brewing!) adventures. Bring your friends and family and sow your oats. Or wheat, whatever.
MIKE DOEHNEL: A presenter of backyard grains workshops, Mike's already done trials of different grains here on the Island. He's also a great resource for anyone interested in homebrew.
TOM HENRY: This rambunctious grain farmer is also the editor of Small Farm Canada magazine.

Sunday, June 28, 2009: Cooking with Whole Grains
Katharina Gustavs visits us, armed with knowledge and a really great cookbook. Learn what you can do in your own kitchen, and welcome whole grains into your diet.
KATHARINA GUSTAVS: Author of Super Breakfast Cereals, Katharina is a certified building biology environmental consultant.

Sunday, August 30, 2009: Harvest Party & Thresh-Fest 2009
Bring your crew and reap what you've sown. Try your hand at scything and learn some low-tech threshing techniques. Swap whole-grain recipes and reminisce about your grain growing days.

Sunday, November 1, 2009: Milling Day
Beloved local organic bakery True Grain Bread in Cowichan Bay invites Island Grains participants to get their wheat and rye stone-milled.

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