Join Plainsong Farm in the Honoré Growers Guild
Our heirloom wheat program began in September 2017, when thirty people hand-planted Turkey Red wheat in one of our fields. We were led by the Rev. Elizabeth DeRuff and Vincent Felice of Honoré Farm & Mill in California. That day, we became the first site outside of California to participate in the Honoré Growers Guild. As well, we began to provide a way for churches in Michigan to bake communion bread from heirloom wheat. Why does that matter?
Heirloom wheat cannot be patented. It is an ancient, open-source seed. Continuing to plant, tend and harvest heirloom wheat preserves biodiversity, an essential quality for a living planet. Open-sourced seed also preserves seed sovereignty. 80-90% of all wheat seed, organic or not, is patented, which means it is not legal for farmers to replant the seed from their harvest. Rather, farmers must purchase new seed each season.
Heirloom wheat always has a story. Our heirloom wheat is a descendant of wheat that was first grown in Turkey, then in Russia, then brought to the United States by Mennonites fleeing religious oppression.
Heirloom wheat tastes better. Modern cultivars are bred for consistency and yield, not depth or complexity of taste. Stone-milled heirloom wheat preserves all the nutrition of the wheat grain and has a “nutty” flavor.
Heirloom wheat has a longer, stronger root structure. Through photosynthesis, plants draw down carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere and shuttle it into its roots, deep underground – where it belongs. Because of the longer, stronger root structure of heirloom wheat, more carbon dioxide is sequestered through our wheat than through modern cultivars.
Your participation means membership in the Honoré Growers Guild. You will be part of a larger, national movement to care for Creation by: reducing greenhouse gases, reducing the amount of petroleum based chemicals used, reducing the amount of water needed (we dry farm), etc… We recognize each congregation on our national map of participating farms, mills and churches.
Heirloom wheat is closer to the wheat Jesus knew. So many of the stories of Holy Scripture include references to wheat and the sowing of seed by hand. As we hand-plant and hand-harvest wheat, we grow in our capacity to understand the meaning of the Bible because we can experience – just for a moment – something similar to the lives of those who walked with Jesus.
Your congregation is invited to share in our Heirloom Wheat program.
A church that joins our Heirloom Wheat program receives the following:
- Seeds are sent to your church to be prayed over in your worship service before being planted. Simply return to us following the worship service in the self-addressed envelope provided.
- Your church is invited to hand-planting and hand-harvesting events. These combine prayer, learning, music, fieldwork, and a farm meal. (Ticket sales cover the cost of the meal.)
- Your church receives a quarterly distribution of Plainsong Farm Heirloom Blend Flour. This flour is a blend of stone-milled heirloom Turkey Red wheat we grow organically on the farm and heirloom wheat organically grown and stone-milled in our region. We work with Grand Traverse Culinary Oils for processing and blending. All the flour is certified by the Honoré Growers Guild.
- With each flour distribution, we include a reflection written by one of our members.
- We offer quarterly news about our work that can be included in your church newsletters and updates for your congregation.
Churches are welcome to join at any time, but the best time to join is before June 30 to receive priority invitations to the harvest day celebration.
A Full Share of 56 lbs. is best for churches who distribute communion weekly to 75+ people. – $500
A Half Share of 24 lbs. is best for churches who distribute communion weekly to 50 people, or monthly to 200 or more. – $250
A Quarter Share of 12 lbs. is best for churches who distribute communion monthly to 75+, or who want to experiment with baking communion bread for the first time. – $125
Flour is distributed quarterly. Pick up at the farm for free; we will also be glad to ship to you.
If you prefer, mail a check to Plainsong Farm, 6677 12 Mile Road NE, Rockford MI 49341. Indicate the name of the church and the name and email address of the church’s liaison with Plainsong Farm.