February 2012 Newsletter

By Karl Kupers on February 06, 2012

Ten years ago when Fred and I would travel to Portland to meet potential customers, Fred would always end the meeting with stating that they would become “food activists” if they purchased Shepherd’s Grain flour. He would go on to say this activism was a positive one because they would be changing an ecosystem through their economic support of our farm families. I look back at that statement today as the need for activism in creating change can certainly take on a destructive form or a constructive form. Historically there have been both types and some could argue with equal success. This Nation is involved in an activist movement today that seems to morph into one of destruction no matter the original intent and commitment of the participants.

The activism Fred espoused has been one creating real sustainable positive change in many aspects of the food industry. The mere opening of communication channels between the producer of the raw product and the baker or chef has created a transparency discouraging unclear marketing practices within the system. That open communication has created transparency on not only how the raw product is being produced and how that system treats the environment, but also opens the door to who is the source of their base product. That communication (activism) is the precursor to a transparent pricing model that does not let global factors affect the regional economic engine driven by the regional flow of the dollar. The buyer’s willingness to be an activist and visit the producer, walk on the land, shake his or her hand, and take that story and tell it in their own words is constructive. We at Shepherd’s Grain as well as the buyer have constant pressure from outside and sometimes within to go back to the “dark side” of the way other’s still do their business. It is the shared commitment and respect for each other that aids us in staying true to our activism. Sometimes a “crowd mentality”, if focused on a constructive outcome, can create a positive change and one that is built on a continuum of trust and respect. That can be defined as a sustainable change.

Nearly every day Fred and I spend time discussing issues, seeking solutions, planning tomorrow, and most importantly reminding ourselves of our commitment now and in the future to both the Shepherd’s Grain family of producers and our committed customers. No matter your business or level of commitment there are always outside forces that divert your attention from your intent. That is when the many years of communicating with both sides of our business, classifying them both as food activists, and believing in their trust and respect allows the conversation to quickly and with fervor get back to who we are. As a friend of mine stated, Shepherd’s Grain has shown itself to be strongly rooted in its’ goal of sustainability and consistency and that has provided our current customers and potential customers the comfort of “always knowing where to find us”.

So as all the forces around you continue to find ways to be volatile and potentially destructive, you can always find Shepherd’s Grain.

Thank you for your support of our family of producers and the goals and aspirations of Shepherd’s Grain with your “food activism”.

Respectfully, The Shepherd’s Grain family of food producers.