The call is out for local brewers and distillers to craft a beverage showcasing Colorado grown grain. The winning recipe will earn a $4,000 micro grant from a Colorado-based nonprofit. This edition of the “Local News Network” is brought to you by The Payroll Department and Serious Texas Bar-B-Q. I’m Connor Shreve. The Brewers and Distillers Micro Grant program is the brainchild of the Colorado Grain Chain, a nonprofit dedicated to growing Colorado’s grain economy and community. Co-chair, Nels Wroe hopes the micro grant program works as a catalyst for more local producers to consider their Colorado grain community more often.
Our goal is to also develop a grain community in Colorado and support small growers, support the development of appropriate to place grains, grains that have a much smaller impact on the environment. And so that’s a big part of our push as well is to support community over commodity.
Lisa Boldt with the Colorado Grain Chain says using local ingredients has an impact on everything from agricultural chain of production to boosting local economies and limiting environmental impact. But she says the micro grant program will also simply show off Colorado’s bounty.
Brewers and distillers use a large quantity of grain. So a lot of them don’t even know where their grain comes from or it doesn’t really matter ’cause you buy it on commodity. But Colorado has incredible agriculture and really, really wonderful grains. So using brewers and distillers as a way to highlight and showcase the Colorado grains.
The Grain Chain will award four grants to winning applicants, one from each of Colorado’s major watersheds. And while it only scratches the surface of what the Colorado Grain Chain is striving to achieve, Wroe says it’s one cog in the nonprofit’s goal of rethinking what we grow and how we grow it.
We have lots of potential looming problems for sustainability in Colorado. If you look at some of the challenges, even in the San Luis Valley, which some could call the Breadbasket of Colorado, we’re already seeing dust bowl problems, again, in that valley, and it’s primarily a focus of growing crops that are substantially damaging to the watershed, the aquifer as well as to the top soil.
Wroe knows that achieving the Grain Chain’s mission requires a symbiotic relationship throughout Colorado’s grain growing community. So far, he has the support of small farmers, like Root Shoot Malting founder, Todd Olander.
Yeah, I think the Grain Chain is doing lots of amazing things. They’ve been championing different types of grains, very unique, ancient grains, just very unique grains that people aren’t usually used to either baking with or brewing with. So I think the Grain Chain is creating some awesome opportunities for people to try local grains they haven’t used them yet.
Well, winning entries might focus on fun or off the wall ideas. Boldt says winners will also have to collect some data from whatever grains they end up using. She wants to build a more comprehensive resource for Colorado grains.
One of the requirements of the grant, the micro grants is that throughout the process, we want brewers and distillers gathering qualitative and quantitative data so that at the very end, we’ll have small reports that we can write about the the grain that’s the focus of the study.
The application deadline is May 29th, and you can find details on the Colorado Grain Chain website. Boldt says, Colorado Grain Chain members are available to help step you through the application process. Details on this and other stories are available at durangolocal.news. Thanks for watching this edition of the “Local News Network.” I’m Connor Shreve.