Molly Breslin - Breslin Farms

Joe Kaplan - Perennial Pantry

Our Mission

To create a diverse regional grainshed in the Upper Midwest built upon regenerative agricultural practices that steward the health of communities, local economies, and natural resources.

Luke Peterson - A-Frame Farm

Our Vision

A thriving and equitable Midwest staple crops economy that stewards our landscapes and ecosystems, strengthens connections between rural and urban communities, and ensures regional food security.

Core Values

Knowledge Sharing

We facilitate information exchange across the grain chain through peer learning, education, research, and communication strategies. An equitable grainshed facilitates access to resources, values a diversity of skills and experiences, and creates opportunities for collective flourishing.

Collaboration & Deep Relationships

We believe in the power of trust-based relationships and foster reciprocal and enduring commitments between people and the land. An equitable grainshed embraces shared accountability among individuals and connected systems, enabling a regional grain chain to thrive.

Environmental & Economic Stewardship

We use diversified grain crops as a pathway toward regenerative agriculture systems that improve soil and ecosystem health and support the viability of urban and rural communities. An equitable grainshed stewards environmental resources while building economic vitality along the grain chain, sharing both risks and rewards.

Access and Equity

Our network creates opportunities for all people to engage in strengthening the regional grain chain. We aim to radically reimagine our regional food system by identifying and overcoming intentional and unintentional systems of extraction and oppression. An equitable grainshed is accessible and community-led, celebrates differences, reduces barriers, distributes power, ensures agency, and provides access to foods people are excited to eat.

John Lee - Hewn

How We Got Here

In 2016, Chicago bakers interested in using local flour connected with a group of environmentalists concerned about the environmental impacts of farming. Together, they realized that local production of small grains could improve Midwestern landscapes and expand the flavor and variety of fresh whole grains available to the region. Since their first meetings, the group—what we now know as AGC—has grown in breadth and geography to create a network of stakeholders jointly bolstering our regional grain economy.

Laine’s Bake Shop

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee keeps our work in alignment with our mission and vision.

Rachel Bernier-Green, Chicago Renaissance Baking Co.
Jenny Haglund, Bird Dog Baking
Ben Penner, Ben Penner Farms
Wesley Rieth, Granor Farm
Nick Ryan, Herbiery Brewing

ilana natasha photography - State Line Distillery

Coordinating Committee

The Coordinating Committee puts our mission and vision into action through our member-led Working Groups.

Education & Outreach Working Group
Julie Doll, Michigan Ag Advancement

Bakers Working Group
Marissa Venturi

Farmer Collaboration Working Group
Halee Wepking, Meadowlark Organics & Meadowlark Community Mill

Brewing & Distilling Working Group
John Clarke, Edgewood Farm Collective

Contact Us

Alyssa Hartman (she/her)

Executive Director

Favorite sandwich: BLT with extra bacon, extra lettuce, extra tomato, and a light smear of mayo sandwiched between two seedy pan loaf slices.

Elena Gutierrez Byrne (she/her)

Communications Manager, based at Renewing the Countryside

Favorite sandwich: open-faced basil pesto with tomato on a slice of local, whole-grain artisan bread.

John Clarke (he/him)

Market Development Manager, Brewing & Distilling Working Group Coordinator

Favorite sandwich: a black pepper crusted burger on toasted pumpernickel with dusseldorf mustard, roasted garlic cloves, and stilton cheese (paired with a locally brewed pilsner or scotch ale).

Halee Wepking (she/her)

Farmer Collaboration Working Group Coordinator

Favorite sandwich: fried egg on homemade bread — not just for breakfast!

Sarah J. Elliott (she/her)

Network Engagement Manager

Favorite sandwich: open-faced fried egg sandwich with spinach, aged cheddar, and a heap of kimchi on a local sandwich loaf.

Christine Johnson (she/her)

Midwest GRIT Program Manager, based at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute

Favorite sandwich: pastrami & swiss on rye, with mustard—Thomy, Colemans or Ingelhoffer extra hot, depending on my mood!

Julie Doll (she/her)

Education & Outreach Working Group Coordinator

Favorite sandwich: Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, piled high on a seedy bread with lettuce, French’s yellow mustard, Swiss cheese.

Jenileigh Harris (she/her)

Operations Manager

Favorite sandwich: a breakfast sandwich with fried egg, bacon, greens, pickled red onions, and cheese on lightly toasted sourdough

Marissa Venturi (she/her)

Bakers Working Group Coordinator

Favorite sandwich: prosciutto sliced thin and piled high, fresh mozzarella, a little olive oil and balsamic, all on a sourdough baguette

Contact Us

Alyssa Hartman (she/her)

Executive Director

Favorite sandwich: BLT with extra bacon, extra lettuce, extra tomato, and a light smear of mayo sandwiched between two seedy pan loaf slices.

Sarah J. Elliott (she/her)

Network Engagement Manager

Favorite sandwich: open-faced fried egg sandwich with spinach, aged cheddar, and a heap of kimchi on a local sandwich loaf.

Elena Gutierrez Byrne (she/her)

Communications Manager, based at Renewing the Countryside

Favorite sandwich: open-faced basil pesto with tomato on a slice of local, whole-grain artisan bread.

Christine Johnson (she/her)

Midwest GRIT Program Manager, based at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute

Favorite sandwich: pastrami & swiss on rye, with mustard—Thomy, Colemans or Ingelhoffer extra hot, depending on my mood!

John Clarke (he/him)

Market Development Manager, Brewing & Distilling Working Group Coordinator

Favorite sandwich: a black pepper crusted burger on toasted pumpernickel with dusseldorf mustard, roasted garlic cloves, and stilton cheese (paired with a locally brewed pilsner or scotch ale).

Halee Wepking (she/her)

Farmer Collaboration Working Group Coordinator

Favorite sandwich: fried egg on homemade bread — not just for breakfast!

Julie Doll (she/her)

Education & Outreach Working Group Coordinator

Favorite sandwich: Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, piled high on a seedy bread with lettuce, French’s yellow mustard, Swiss cheese.

Marissa Venturi (she/her)

Bakers Working Group Coordinator

Favorite sandwich: prosciutto sliced thin and piled high, fresh mozzarella, a little olive oil and balsamic, all on a sourdough baguette

Jenileigh Harris (she/her)

Operations Manager

Favorite sandwich: a breakfast sandwich with fried egg, bacon, greens, pickled red onions, and cheese on lightly toasted sourdough

Our Funders and Supporters

Great Lakes Protection Fund
NCR-SARE