2016: The International Year of Pulses
Fishermen's Terminal
GoodFood World
Good food is everybody's business!
Welcome to GoodFood World
February 26, 2016
Loaves and Fishes in the 21st Century
The foods best able to support the basic calorie demand of our population in the Pacific Northwest - and our best bet for food security in the face of climate change - are fish and grain. It may be a Biblical metaphor, perhaps, but we are dependent on "loaves and fishes."

Grain and Flour

Some scientists theorize that man's development as homo sapiens - "thinking man" - began thousands of years ago with the gathering and consumption of grass seeds.

The first domesticated food crops - the so-called "Neolithic founder crops" - included einkorn and emmer (two of the earliest domesticated wheats), barley, lentils, peas, chickpeas, and flax.

Today "cereal grains" cover the earth. Wheat - a domesticated grass - is second only to rice as the largest source of vegetable protein for human consumption. Nearly half of the calories of the world's protein intake comes from rice, wheat, corn, and barley.

Our "National Hymn," America the Beautiful, opens with an image of endless skies over fields of ripe golden grain reaching to a horizon of purple mountains. However that idyllic scene actually depicts mono-cropping of wheat, which has been one of the major contributors to decades of soil and water erosion and water contamination. And a contributor to one of the greatest environmental disasters of the Twentieth Century: the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Read more: Local Grains: Taking Back Our Wheat.

Pete Knutson, F/V Loki
Fish and Shellfish
The ocean contains 97% of the planet's water and covers 71% of the Earth's surface. Stand on the shore and its expanse and distant horizon imply an endless source of resources. We now know the oceans are not boundless and the numbers of fish are not endless.

It wasn't until the late 20th Century that we understood the world harvest of fish is on a downward trend. And not only are the numbers of fish shrinking, the size of those fish is getting smaller too.

We are just beginning to understand that we may soon reach the end of the line - pun intended - for some of our "keystone" fish species: salmon, sea bass, cod, and tuna. Read more: So Long and Thanks for All the Fish.

The "New" Alternative
Loki salmon
The more our industrialized agriculture and fisheries try to replace it, the more the ecological small scale agriculture and small boat fishing exists as a viable alternative.

The appropriate scale for grain farming is not the same as that for domestic fruits and vegetables, small goat herds, or chickens. Nor is the scale for industrial commercial fishing the same as that for small boat fishers. What industry has forced on us is inappropriate and unsustainable, and primarily produced by monopolistic, wasteful technology. Scale isn't even considered.

A major problem with our food system is thinking that one size fits all and failing to see the potential of the "small is beautiful" scenario in a mixed landscape - terran and marine.

That mixed landscape is a necessary buffer to protect the natural resource base - the key elements of the ecosystem - and to give something back to the community, the human resource.

As we steward our prairies and grasslands implementing agro-ecology practices and preserve our fisheries with ecological management, we are living a modern day miracle of loaves and fishes.
The Business of Fish: A Fisherman and a Fish Monger
The Fisherman: Loki Fish Company
Starting, growing, and maintaining a small family business is tough, regardless of the industry you are in. Even the bravest and smartest entrepreneur is climbing a steep mountain; only one in four is still around 15 years after opening day.

Loki Fish Co. has been going strong for more than 35 years, and has evolved from a single fishing boat to a vertically-integrated, direct marketing company selling a wide variety of fresh, frozen, and processed fish products. While Loki has overcome the odds - through skill, intuition, and luck - and has built a growing business, starting and successfully running a small business means avoiding "killer" challenges every day.

Small food-based businesses like Loki have a special role: they bring diversity, innovation, sustainability, and vitality to local and regional food systems. Big commercial fishing operations must compromise quality in exchange for cost, degrading the value of the food they deliver. Read more: Building a Brand, One Fish at a Time.

The Fish Monger: Carole Willis, PCC Natural Markets, Columbia City
Carole Willis, meat and fish manager, is both a talented fish monger and skilled meat cutter. But think for a minute... When someone says "journeyman meat cutter," what image comes to mind?

Probably a big burly guy in a bloody apron throwing a chunk of beef on a chopping block and wielding a cleaver... Right? Today's skilled and licensed meat cutter is miles from that stereotype.

Stop at PCC's full-service meat and seafood department in the center of the Columbia City market, and Carole, a charming woman in a clean white jacket, will greet you with a warm and friendly smile.

The rapid supply chain revolution in the seafood industry - growth of intermediate processors, consolidation, and domination by big distributors - has made it difficult for small boat fishers to claim a place in the local network of buyers. Carole's commitment is to offer the very best fish from local and regional fishermen - and women. Read more: It's a (Wo)man's World - Meet Carole Willis.
Loaves: The Business of Flour and Grain
The Miller: Kevin Christianson, Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill
With all the talk of "gluten-free" and "low carb diets," we seem to have lost track of the value of fresh-milled whole grain flour. The bleached white powder that most of us think of when discussing flour is so bereft of natural nutrients that they have to be added back through "enrichment."

Fresh locally milled whole grain flour is a real joy to cook with and an especially nutritious ingredient for good health. We're lucky to have a skilled miller in Puget Sound who can provide us with whole grain flour "lively" enough to turn flour and water into a sourdough starter in just a day or so.

We're also lucky he was checking Craig's List at an especially opportune time! Learn more about how Kevin Christenson found himself to be the owner of Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill in How to Buy a Flour Mill: Check Craig's List.

The Grower: Sam and Brooke Lucy, Bluebird Grain Farms
Sam Lucy leases and farms about 200 acres, half of which is in  production each year growing grains like hard red wheat, soft white wheat, rye, emmer, and einkorn.

He alternates cereal grains with other grasses and plants like mustard and vetch. The cover crops are plowed back into the soil to return nutrients to replace those taken out by the harvested grains.

At Bluebird Grain Farms, the Lucys not only plant and grow organic grain; they reap, thresh, mill, package, market, and sell it. Brooke has developed an entire line of products that incorporate whole grain berries, cracked grains, and fresh milled flour.

Brooke and Sam are model representatives of a new generation of farmers; read more in Reclaiming Farmland and an Ancient Grain. Together they are inspired by European farms that not only grow, thresh, and mill their own grain, but sell it in a small retail shop right on the farm.
Where to Buy
Sourcing good food can be challenging at times, so we're here to give you a few ways you can buy online or on the street. Some of these folks sell just locally, but many will ship direct to you, wherever you are.

Please support small business and patronize our sponsors. Tell them GoodFood World sent you!
New Food-Based Business Consulting Services
We are evolving! GoodFood World has shown that it can be an important platform to help reconnect those seeking good food with the farmers, fishers, millers, bakers, retailers, and chefs who grow, process, and prepare it.

GoodFood World has become a business incubator. At the start we assist business formation; to small and mid-size businesses already in place, we provide operational, development, and marketing services. Our concentration is on companies that produce or process organic food products made of local or Northwest regional ingredients. 

We need your help! 
Small businesses owned by women and minorities bring diversity and resilience to the food system. Immigrants add new flavors. Unfortunately, they begin by having to compete with already well-established and well-financed companies who often view them as a threat.

We bridge the gap by helping identify opportunities, locate financing, link production partners, and introduce new products to distributors and retailers.

With experience as a small business owner and corporate executive, Gail can meet the challenges of business startup and leverage growth and development.

Ken's field and academic experience in food and farming brings a strong "on the ground" understanding of regulation and resource management.

Contribute to GoodFood World to keep our services accessible to those who are creating the food products you will find on grocery shelves and in restaurants in the future.

What YOU can do!
  • Contribute $500, $100, $50, or more, to support our services to clients creating food products like cooked oat pudding, plant-based milks, vegan meat alternatives, and more.

Make a contribution here.  

  • Refer food-based businesses that specialize in production and processing, distribution and delivery, and online or in-plant technology, and are startups or need a helping hand along the way. 
New Format/New Focus
At GoodFood World, we connect you to good food from land and sea.

In this newsletter you'll see more emphasis on actual business models, production methods and processes, and successful products. Enjoy!
Sponsors and Friends
The Reading List
The New Bread Basket  by Amy Halloran, looks at all the players in the system that is redefining grain, flour, bread, beer, and spirits and giving all of these a local flavor.
In Cheddar: A Journey to the Heart of America's Most Iconic Cheese, by Gordon Edgar, you'll learn the history and the production process that gives us today's amazing farmhouse cheddar cheeses. And you'll about the anathema to good cheddar: Velveeta, that bright orange rubbery brick of "cheese food."  
Liz Carlisle: Interview with Tim Danahey
Listen to author Liz Carlisle talk about her new book Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America.

She tells of Montana farmers who took matters into their own hands, avoided monocrops, replenished their soil, refused chemicals, conserved water, and made it work. Listen here.
Sponsors and Friends
International Year of Pulses

What the heck are "pulses?" You've been eating them all your life: split pea soup, lentil salad, hummus.

We say "legumes," while the rest of the world says "pulses." Sort of a "tomāto or tomahto" kind of thing... 
Your Nickel's Worth

We welcome photos, tips, observations, and links to stories about the world of good food. Send us stories about what you've seen or heard. Tell us what we're doing right. We like "atta boys!" Got a beef? Send it on... we need to know! Here's the place to do it.   


Take care, eat well, and be well!


Gail Nickel-Kailing and Ken Kailing



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