Local Grains | The Whole Grains Council (2023)

The Local Grains Movement

Grains may be latecomers to the local foods movement, but they’ve arrived and they’re changing the way many communities think about flavor and flour. The local grain renaissance that’s making its mark, particularly throughout the Northeast and along the West Coast, is helping to connect consumers more closely with producers, millers, and artisan bakers.

Local Grains | The Whole Grains Council (1)

(Video) Terroir and Local Grain Economies - Part 1

Many of the farmers involved in local and specialty grain production are interested in growing something people can’t find on their grocery shelves, which has led to an expanding interest in heritage grain varieties. Perhaps one of the most significant benefits to these heirloom grains is flavor—what Dr. Stephen Jones at the Bread Lab calls the terroir of the grain. Instead of growing to maximize yield, farmers growing outside a commodity system are able to focus on growing varieties that produce much nuttier, sweeter, earthier flours than the all-purpose wheat flour we’re used to.

(Video) Health Benefits of Whole Grains | Dr. Neal Barnard Live Q&A

The full flavor of these grains is being explored and celebrated by bakers, chefs, and consumers alike, which is why it’s no surprise that whole grains are front-and-center in the local grains movement. Once you’ve committed to growing or purchasing heritage grains, it would be somewhat counter-intuitive then to refine and strip away the unique flavors of those carefully cultivated kernels. Beyond all the well-known health benefits that whole grains offer, their superior taste makes them hugely appealing—and heirloom grains, bred for flavor, take these culinary benefits of whole grains to the next level.

When we started learning about all the small-scale, local grain production happening in communities around the country, we decided to lend a hand by creating a hub of resources to help draw and strengthen the connections between consumers and the local or regional grain economies developing around them. We’d love to hear from you and learn about the farms, mills, malthouses, and grain projects happening inyourbackyard. Email us and tell us about the local grains making it to your table!

Local Grains Map: Farms, Mills & Malt houses

Local Grains | The Whole Grains Council (2)

(Video) Rediscovering the Real Taste of Local Wheat (Stephen Jones)

Grain Economy Resources

  • TheBread Lab Plant Breeding Program at Washington State University — The Bread Lab researches wheat, barley, buckwheat, and othergrains, identifying varieties that are especially well-suited in taste and flavor profile to applications in craft baking, cooking, malting, brewing, and distilling.
  • The Colorado Grain Chain (Boulder, CO) and the UCCS Grain School (Colorado Springs, CO) are great resources for grain growers, millers, scientists and professionals — especially those in the Colorado area. They also host the UCCS Grain School, which offers both a college level academic course as well as open public forums about whole grain farming, whole grains and health, and the local grain community.
  • Fair Food Philly in Philadelphia — This group works to promote sustainable agriculture in the region around Philadelphia, hosting an annual Farm & Food Fest
  • The Greenhorns— This organization works to support and recruit new farmers and provide resources (films, radio, guidebooks, almanacs, anthologies, etc.) to teach sustainable agriculture, restorative land practices, and skill-building.
  • Greenmarket’s Regional Grains Project — This project is focused on increasing both supplyand demand for local grains in the Northeast region. Since 2009, all baked products sold through the Greenmarket have been required to contain at least 15% locally grown andmilled flour.
  • A Guide to Northeast Grains— This book is meant to serve as an introductory guide to bakers and consumers who would like to learn more about regional grain history and alternative flours like spelt, rye, buckwheat, emmer, einkorn, and triticale.
  • Heritage Grain Trust (UK) — This organization works to encourage the production and use of heritage grains in the UK.
  • Maine Grain Alliance — This group works to support the Maine grain economy through a seed restoration project andby hostingan annual Kneading Conference along with several other hands-on workshops throughout the year.They also award need-based technical assistance grants to help grain-based businesses in Maine.
  • Meadows Millsin North Carolina — Meadows Mills is a manufacturer and supplier of mill stones and other milling parts and equipment.
  • Northern Grain Growers Associationin Vermont — This organization includes growers, maltsters, bakers, and grain enthusiasts all working to promote locally grown grains.
  • Tehachapi Heritage Grain Projectin Southern California — The project aims to preserve and grow organic heritage grains which are naturally drought tolerant.
  • USDA NRCS Plants Database— This national database allows users to search by crop or species and find where in the US it’s being grown. The database also provides descriptive information about the plant and its place of origin.
  • USDA’s National Small Grains Collection — The NSGC is a genebank that collects grain germplasm from around the globe and distributes seed freely to scientists. Their collection includes strains of wheat, barley, oats, rice, rye, triticale, and a variety of wild relatives.
  • Additionally, historic mills offer insight and perspective into the history of regional grain systems and can act as a resource for those interested in learning more.

Read About Local Grains


  • Local Flour Fills the Gaps (5.6.20) -The recent shakeup to our food systems is teaching us the importance of diversity and flexibility – not just in our shopping lists and cooking repertoires, but in our supply chain and food systems themselves.
  • The Northeast Grain Gab (11.6.19) -The Whole Grains Council joined individuals from all sectors of the Northeastern grain world, from New England to Canada, at The Northeast Grain Gab earlier last month to participate in a lively discussion on how to ‘connect the dots’ of this burgeoning regional grain economy.
  • Climate Resiliency through Biodiversity and Local Grain Economies (10.2.19) -At a time when increasingly urgent headlines about climate change are commonplace, and many farmers are facing tough economic situations, this story about the importance of biodiversity, economic resiliency, rural communities, and the value of ecological health seems particularly poignant.
  • Milling the Past(1.23.19) -Recent trends toward the local, sustainable and artisan have inspired many to look back to a time when small food economies were the only way of life. Those curious about past grain economies need look no further than the grist mill.
  • How the Local Food Movement Paved the Way for Delicious, Whole Grain Baked Goods(11.15.17) -With a steady source of butter, sugar, and artisan chocolate at their disposal, pastry chefs have a knack for navigating direct routes to our taste buds. But recently the biggest source of flavor in baked goods is coming from somewhere you would never expect: the flour.
  • The Kneading Conference: Summer Camp for Grainiacs, Flour Enthusiasts, and Bread Buffs(8.9.17) -Professional and hobbyist grainiacs alikegatheredat the Maine Grain Alliance’s 11th annual Kneading Conference to find inspiration, to learn, and to connect with their fellow attendees around shared passions and good food.
  • A Grain Gathering: Growing a Massachusetts Grain Economy(3.15.17) -On a frigid, blustery Saturday in March, farmers, millers, bakers, maltsters, brewers, distillers, and chefs from around the region gathered at Plimoth Plantation’s recently renovated Grist Mill to make new connections and strategize ways of growing the local grain economy.
  • Getting Local Heritage Grains into Your Own Kitchen(1.25.17) -When it comes to maximizing the flavor and aroma of whole grain flour, nothing compares to freshly ground. We checked in with a few of the folks pushing to make fresh milling and local flours more widely available.
  • Regional Grain Businesses at Work(11.9.16) -How do small farmers compete and thrive in a food system geared toward Big Agriculture? The answer almost always involves farmers banding together, often in concert with millers and manufacturers.
  • The Grain in Maine’s Milled Mainly in Skowhegan(8.3.16) -Regional grain movements are being reborn around the country, including in Skowhegan, Maine, where speech language pathologist Amber Lambke reinvented herself as the local miller.
  • Farmers and Bakers Seek the Flavor of Heirloom Grains(12.16.15) -More and more, we are seeing farmers, millers, and bakers going back to the basics of what constitutes good grain, and in turn, what makes good grain products.
  • Grains, Coming to a Field Near You(6.4.14) — Storiesofbakers, millers, and farmers “helping to revive a lost tradition – grain grown locally, milled locally, used by local bakers to create whole-wheat breads that taste like the bread eaten by our grandparents.”


(Video) Worldwide Whole Grain Momentum: Data from the Whole Grains Council


Local Grains | The Whole Grains Council? ›

Whole-grain products and recipes credit as the grains component in the CACFP meal patterns. Whole grains consist of the entire cereal grain seed or kernel, after removing the inedible outer husk or hull. The kernel includes the starchy endosperm, the fiber-rich bran, and the nutrient-rich germ.

What is considered whole grain for CACFP? ›

Whole-grain products and recipes credit as the grains component in the CACFP meal patterns. Whole grains consist of the entire cereal grain seed or kernel, after removing the inedible outer husk or hull. The kernel includes the starchy endosperm, the fiber-rich bran, and the nutrient-rich germ.

How much whole grain is enough? ›

The Dietary Guidelines recommends that Americans consume at least 3 servings of whole-grain foods daily, which adds up to 48 grams of whole grain.

What is the key consumer message for grains? ›

Grains are represented by the orange color. Grains are divided into two groups, whole grains and refined grains. The key consumer message is to make at least half our grains whole grains.

What amount does the USDA recommended your grains be from whole grains? ›

To meet USDA's whole grain-rich criteria, a product must contain at least 50% whole grains; the other grains must be either enriched, bran, or germ. Any other grain products offered that are not whole grain-rich must be enriched. What are the proposed requirements for grains?

What qualifies as 100% whole grain? ›

Whole grains have the entire grain kernel, which includes the bran, germ, and endosperm. Some whole-grain examples are whole-wheat flour, bulgur (cracked wheat), oatmeal, and brown rice.

What counts as a serving of whole grains? ›

A serving* of grain is any of the following: one slice of bread; a half cup of cooked oatmeal, pasta or rice; an ounce of crackers; or a cup of dry cold cereal. These pictures show how easy and delicious it can be to get three or more servings of whole grain each day.

Does whole grain mean 100% whole grain? ›

Whole grain means that the bread can be made of any whole-grain kernel. That grain may be wheat or it could be another grain like spelt, oats, or barley. The bread might even be made using a mixture of different whole grains.

What is 3 servings of whole grains? ›

With the increased use of the Whole Grain Stamp, you can easily get your recommended three servings of whole grain each day, simply by eating three foods with the 100% Stamp, or six foods with any Whole Grain Stamp. Every product bearing the Whole Grain Stamp contains at least half a serving (8g) of whole grains.

What are the three most important grains? ›

Rice, corn, and wheat are the most common staple foods on Earth.

What 4 guidelines should you follow when buying grains? ›

Consider these tips to select whole grain products and keep them fresh and safe to eat.
  • Read the Label. ...
  • Look for the word “whole” at the beginning of the ingredients list. ...
  • Kids can choose whole grains. ...
  • Find the fibre on label. ...
  • 5.Is gluten in whole grains? ...
  • Check for freshness. ...
  • Keep a lid on it. ...
  • Buy what you need.

What are important facts about grains? ›

Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including fiber, B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate) and minerals (iron, magnesium and selenium). People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.

Is oatmeal considered whole grain? ›

Oats are one of the most beloved whole grains – in fact, when we surveyed American consumers in 2018, oats were the second most popular whole grain after whole wheat, and oatmeal was nearly the most popular whole grain food, coming in second only to whole grain bread.

Is rice considered a whole grain? ›

Whole: Just like all whole grains, rice naturally contains three edible components—the bran, germ, and endosperm (the inedible hull is removed).

What percentage of your food must be the whole grains answer? ›

A Whole-Grain Food—At Least 50% Whole-Grain Ingredients Based on Dry Weight. In the Healthgrain Forum definition, at least 30% whole grain on a dry weight basis is required, and levels of refined-grain ingredients should not be higher than those of whole-grain ingredients.

What are the 5 healthiest grains? ›

Healthy Grains and How to Enjoy Them
  • Brown Rice. 1/17. In the world of whole grains, you can argue this is the original star. ...
  • Sorghum. 2/17. Many cultures enjoy this ancient cereal grain. ...
  • Buckwheat. 3/17. It isn't a grain or a wheat. ...
  • Barley. 4/17. ...
  • Oats. 5/17. ...
  • Millet. 6/17. ...
  • Quinoa. 7/17. ...
  • Bulgur. 8/17.
Dec 11, 2021

What are the 7 types of grains? ›

7 Common Types of Grains to Eat
  • Rice. All white rice starts out as brown rice. ...
  • Oats. Oats are whole grain foods with a well-balanced nutritional composition. ...
  • Quinoa. ...
  • Barley. ...
  • Millets. ...
  • Couscous. ...
  • Buckwheat.
Jan 1, 2023

Is popcorn a whole grain? ›

Did you know that popcorn is a 100 percent whole grain? And that one serving of popcorn provides about one-third of the whole grains most American adolescents and adults need?

Which is not considered a whole grain? ›

In a nutshell, whole grains are the edible seeds of certain grasses — except for quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth, which are the seeds of broad-leaved plants. Whole grains contain three parts: the bran, the endosperm and the germ.

Which is healthier 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grain? ›

Whole grains are healthier than whole wheat because they often contain more fiber. Though 100% whole wheat can be a type of whole grain, some products contain a mix of wheat and white flour. Look for labels that say whole grain or 100% whole wheat, as both are healthy choices.

What are good grains for breakfast? ›

I recommend that you include at least three servings of whole grains, such as brown rice, barley, quinoa, amaranth, teff, sorghum, buckwheat, wild rice, and wheat (including farro, spelt, Kamut, and bulgur), in your diet every day for optimal health. At least one of those servings should be at the breakfast table!

How many grains a day should you eat? ›

Experts have recommended eating 5 to 8 ounces of grains per day, 3 to 6 ounces of which should be whole grains. For reference, one ounce of grains is equivalent to one slice of bread or half a cup of cooked pasta or rice.

Is pasta a grain food? ›

Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples of grain products.

What is the healthiest bread to eat? ›

The 7 Healthiest Types of Bread
  1. Sprouted whole grain. Sprouted bread is made from whole grains that have started to sprout from exposure to heat and moisture. ...
  2. Sourdough. ...
  3. 100% whole wheat. ...
  4. Oat bread. ...
  5. Flax bread. ...
  6. 100% sprouted rye bread. ...
  7. Healthy gluten-free bread.
Dec 15, 2022

How much is enough whole grains 101? ›

Overall, the Guidelines recommend that all Americans make half or more of their grains whole grains. For everyone age 9 and up, this means eating 3 to 5 servings or more of whole grains every day.

Is corn considered a whole grain? ›

According to the Whole Grains Council, fresh corn is usually classified as a vegetable and dried corn (including popcorn) as a grain. Corn is a whole grain if the bran, germ, and endosperm are all left intact, just like whole wheat.

What is an example of grain servings? ›

Examples of one serving of grains:
  • One slice bread.
  • One small tortilla.
  • 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal flakes.
  • 1 ounce (⅛ cup) uncooked pasta or rice.
  • ½ cup cooked rice, pasta or cereal.
  • 3 cups popped popcorn.
Nov 1, 2021

What foods are considered grains? ›

Information. Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples of grain products.

What is one serving of fruit? ›

Remember that the serving size for fruits and vegetables is about 4 to 6 ounces.

Are grains inflammatory? ›

Refined grains have been linked to higher levels of inflammatory markers in the blood, which is not only bad for arthritis but may also increase your risk for other inflammatory conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

What are the big 5 grains? ›

The Hei'anzhuan cited above lists millet, rice, the adzuki bean, the soybean, barley and wheat together, and sesame as the "five" grains.

Is flour considered a whole grain? ›

Whole grain flours are ground from whole, unprocessed wheat kernels, grains, and seeds. Refined flours, such as all-purpose flour, are made by processing whole grains to remove the germ and bran before milling.

Is honey wheat bread considered whole grain? ›

However, popular brands like Sara Lee or Nature's Own honey wheat bread are not really “whole wheat.” They contain some whole wheat flour, but the first ingredient is refined wheat flour—which means they're more like highly processed white bread. (Plus, most also contain preservatives and other additives.)

What are quality checks for grains? ›

Grain quality is defined by several factors such as physical (moisture content, bulk density, kernel size, kernel hardness, vitreousness, kernel density and damaged kernels), safety (fungal infection, mycotoxins, insects and mites and their fragments, foreign material odour and dust) and compositional factors (milling ...

What are the two most important grains? ›

The three most important food crops in the world are rice, wheat, and maize (corn). The three cereal grains directly contribute more than half of all calories consumed by human beings.

What is the most important grain? ›

The major feed grains are corn, sorghum, barley, and oats. Corn is the primary U.S. feed grain, accounting for more than 95 percent of total feed grain production and use.

What are the most eaten grains in the world? ›

Major Cereal Production and Use

The three most important food crops in the world are rice, wheat, and maize (corn). The three cereal grains directly contribute more than half of all calories consumed by human beings.

Are Cheerios whole grain? ›

CheeriosTM has been a family favourite for years. Its wholesome goodness is perfect for toddlers, adults and everyone in between. Made from whole grain oats, and without artificial flavours or colours, they're low in fat and cholesterol free. These wholesome little “o's” have only one gram of sugar per serving!

Are Quaker Oats 100% whole grain? ›

Quaker Oats is 100% whole grains for lasting energy that helps keep you feeling full for up to 4 hours and may help reduce the risk of heart disease. 3 grams of soluble fiber from oatmeal daily in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce this risk of heart disease.

Is it good to eat oatmeal everyday? ›

Yes, it is good to eat oatmeal every day considering its nutritional profile and health benefits, including weight control and heart-healthy effect. As a breakfast food and mid-meal snack, oatmeal is potentially a better option than the majority of foods available in the market.

Is pasta healthier than rice? ›

For lower calorie and carbohydrate content, rice comes out top. But if protein and fibre is your aim, pasta wins over rice. That said, both can play a part in a healthy diet - and as the nutritional differences are quite small, it often comes down to which you would prefer.

What happens if you don't eat grains? ›

A grain-free diet may reduce inflammation, aid weight loss, and improve digestion and blood sugar levels. It may also promote mental health and alleviate pain in people with fibromyalgia or endometriosis, though more research is needed.

What is the healthiest rice to eat everyday? ›

Brown rice also is richer in nutrients like magnesium and B vitamins compared with white rice, Nies said. When comparing calories per cup of cooked rice, brown is slightly higher at 248 calories versus 205 for white.

What should I eat in a day? ›

Eating a balanced diet
  • eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day (see 5 A Day)
  • base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta.
  • have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
  • eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein.

What should be on your plate every meal? ›

It is generally agreed that a balanced plate consists of one quarter proteins, one quarter carbohydrates and one half vegetables.

Is wheat spaghetti good for you? ›

Whole wheat pasta is healthier than white pasta, because it's packed with nutrients such as complex carbs, protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, and zinc. On the other hand, white pasta is made of refined carbs, meaning it has been stripped of many nutrients during its processing.

What are considered whole grains? ›

Whole grains include grains like wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, rye – when these foods are eaten in their “whole” form (more on that later). Whole grains even include popcorn! You may already be eating whole grains.

What are some whole grain foods? ›

How to include whole grain foods
  • oats.
  • quinoa.
  • brown rice.
  • whole grain pasta.
  • whole grain bread.
May 3, 2022

What are examples of whole grain servings? ›

A serving* of grain is any of the following: one slice of bread; a half cup of cooked oatmeal, pasta or rice; an ounce of crackers; or a cup of dry cold cereal. These pictures show how easy and delicious it can be to get three or more servings of whole grain each day.

What does whole grain mean on a food label? ›

Whole grains refer to the entire grain kernel, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. The process of refining grains removes most of the bran and germ, leaving the endosperm (white flour).

What are 5 examples of whole grains? ›

Best Whole Grains to Eat
  • Bulgur. A key ingredient of the Middle Eastern staple, tabbouleh, bulgur is a type of wheat can be used in so many delicious ways. ...
  • Rice. This extremely versatile grain is widely available and also a gluten-free option. ...
  • Corn. ...
  • Oats. ...
  • Farro. ...
  • Teff. ...
  • Sorghum. ...
  • Quinoa.
Apr 13, 2023

What are the 7 whole grains? ›

Here are some common whole grain foods:
  • Whole wheat, oats, corn, barley, farro.
  • Graham flour.
  • Oatmeal, rolled or steel cut.
  • Brown rice.
  • Wild rice.
  • Popcorn.
  • Quinoa.
Nov 1, 2021

How many grains should you eat a day? ›

Experts have recommended eating 5 to 8 ounces of grains per day, 3 to 6 ounces of which should be whole grains. For reference, one ounce of grains is equivalent to one slice of bread or half a cup of cooked pasta or rice.

What is the healthiest whole grain? ›

1. Whole Oats. Oats are among the healthiest whole grains you can eat. They're not only packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber but also naturally gluten-free.

How do I make sure my food is whole grain? ›

To make sure whole grains are the main ingredient, they should appear first on the ingredient list. Look for ingredients like "whole grain whole wheat flour", “whole rye”, “whole oat” or “oatmeal”, "whole corn”, “whole barley” and other grains that start with “whole”.


1. Webinar: Communicating Whole Grain Content to Shoppers
2. Distiller's Dried Grains with Solubles: Production & Quality Control
(U.S. Grains Council)
3. How to Start Milling Your Wheat | Where to Buy Grains in Bulk | How to Store Grains| Prepper Pantry
(Grains and Grit)
4. How I Buy Grains in Bulk and Store Them
(The Kitchen Garten)
5. Terroir and Local Grain Economies - Part 2
6. Whole Grain Trends In Contemporary Food Culture


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