Developing supply chains for minor cereals in North East England
Hosted by researcher from Newcastle University and farmers, brewers and millers.
Researchers, farmers, brewers and millers in North-East England have been developing sustainable production systems for minor cereals, alternative grains and ancient wheat varieties. This panel provided a review of outcomes from experimental research at Newcastle University, commercial development of alternative crops from Coastal Grains Ltd, lessons from incorporating minor grains into brewing from Donzoko Brewing and specific experience in farming and milling organic cereals from Gilchesters Organics. Results from fields trials of organic wheats, spelt, rye, buckwheat and quinoa were presented and discussed in the context of the current supply chains for these crops from a North-East perspective. The session was particularly relevant to those interested in learning more about how to diversify cereal production systems, why these alternative crops and varieties are important environmentally and nutritionally and how the UK and regional supply chains for minor cereals are developing.
Amelia Magistrali is a post-doctoral researcher at Newcastle University who has spent the past five years assessing the potential of and developing supply chains for alternative grain production in North-East England. As a PhD researcher, Amelia studied spelt and rye variety performance with alternative fertilisers as part of the EU HealthyMinorCereals project (http://healthyminorcereals.eu/) and the DEFRA Sustainable Intensification Platform (http://www.siplatform.org.uk/). Amelia currently works with Coastal Grains Ltd (http://www.coastalgrainsltd.co.uk/), a grain co-operative in Northumberland, on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership to develop supply chains for novel grain production. Through the project, she works with farmers to trial commercial production of spelt, buckwheat and rye varieties, which has resulted in a well-established supply chain for regional spelt production and additional avenues for buckwheat and rye in the UK.
Andrew Wilkinson has been farming at Gilchesters in Northumberland since 1992, converting them to organic production in 2002 and establishing the organic cereal research programme for Newcastle University’s Nafferton Ecological Farming group in 2003 (NEFG). Alongside his own PhD research evaluating organic milling quality cereal production, long term cereal variety and soil fertility trials continue to be conducted at Gilchesters in conjunction with many international research partners to the present day http://orgprints.org/10417/ . With the construction of their own flour mill, Gilchesters Organics, established in 2003, https://gilchesters.com/ provides stoneground organic flour directly to artisan bakeries, chefs and home bakers throughout the UK. From his experiences in farming, milling and organic crop research, Andrew continues to promote sustainable, local production systems for UK producers through better cereal variety choice and short food chain networks.
Israel F. N. Domingos is a researcher with an MSc in soil science focusing on soil management and a PhD in agriculture focusing on production and quality of the pseudocereals buckwheat (F. esculentum Moench.) and quinoa (C. quinoa Willd.). He is currently working on improving vegetables and maize production under sustainable low input farming system in Cuanza Sul (Angola). His long-term research interests involve the development of a comprehensive understanding of alternatives for improvement and diversification of genetic resources to increase productivity and quality of arable crops.
Reece Hugill is owner and head brewer at Donzoko Brewing Company (https://www.donzoko.org/home), who make unfiltered, continental inspired lagers and ales in the North-East.