Shepherd’s Grain (www.shepherdsgrain.com), the Pacific Northwest-based company dedicated to providing sustainably-grown, tillage-free wheat, today announced that its farmers have contributed $50,000 in flour and cash to helping communities struggling with food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The generous donations include contributions to a hand-picked collection of food banks, non-profit organizations, restaurants and chefs giving back to their communities across the Pacific Northwest, with in-kind and monetary donations distributed to recipients across Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
“At Shepherd’s Grain, our customers have long-supported us and allowed our family farms to be passed down to the next generation by providing a profitable and sustainable price for our wheat,” said Washington-based Shepherd’s Grain grower Allen Druffel. “When the opportunity arose to help them in their moments of need, we knew it was time to rise to the occasion.”
Giving back to communities amidst COVID-19 pandemic
As part of the family of growers’ efforts to give back, more than 38 Shepherd’s Grain farmers across the Pacific Northwest, from central and eastern Washington, northern Idaho, northeast Oregon, central Montana and western Canada, collectively agreed to contribute funds directly from their profits of selling wheat to create Shepherd’s Grain flour.
When choosing recipients, the grower-owned company reviewed and selected from an expansive list of organizations focused on providing hunger relief, helping families in need, nourishing communities and preparing meals for the homeless, school children and seniors to supporting local foodservice workers, restaurants and communities.
Proceeds shared via flour-only donations, cash-only donations or a combination of both, based on each organization’s needs, were delivered directly, via the company’s distribution partners or with checks for monetary donations. In Washington state, Shepherd’s Grain growers gave cash and flour donations, including:
- Food Lifeline – farmers at Shepherd’s Grain donated pallets of Shepherd’s Grain All Purpose Flour to the organization focused on supporting 375 food banks, shelters and meal programs in communities hit with devastating job losses due to COVID-19.
- Blazing Bagels – Shepherd’s Grain growers donated a combination of cash and pallets of Shepherd’s Grain All Purpose Flour for use in product donations to support non-profit organizations, healthcare workers and front-line responders.
- Restaurant Workers Relief Program – growers at Shepherd’s Grain donated cash, pallets and five-pound bags of Shepherd’s Grain All Purpose Flour to the program that has turned renowned Ravenna restaurant Salare into a community kitchen.
- Tom Douglas Restaurants – Shepherd’s Grain farmers donated cash to help Tom Douglas Restaurants Executive Chef Eric Tanaka prepare 700 meals daily for Pike Place Market’s Senior Center through their Feeding Seniors program.
- Second Harvest – pallets of Shepherd’s Grain All Purpose Flour were donated by Shepherd’s Grain farmers to support the exceptional work Second Harvest does feeding hungry people in the Inland Northwest and Spokane-area since 1971.
- FareStart – Shepherd’s Grain growers donated cash to the organization focused on bringing together partners across the Seattle area to help ensure people don’t go hungry during the COVID-19 crisis, including supporting students and graduates hit hard.
- Northwest Harvest – farmers at Shepherd’s Grain donated 5-pound flour bags to Washington's statewide hunger relief agency that is supplying food boxes to 130 food banks and pantries across King County.
- Edmonds Food Bank – Shepherd’s Grain growers donated Shepherd’s Grain All Purpose Flour to the non-profit organization focused on providing fresh and nutritious food to families needing help.
- West Seattle Food Bank – Shepherd’s Grain All Purpose Flour was donated by growers to the organization focused on minimizing hunger and serving the West Seattle community.
- Edmonds School District – farmers at Shepherd’s Grain donated Shepherd’s Grain All Purpose Flour to the organization working to provide nutritious meals to underserved populations, including children out of school due to COVID-19.
- Christ's Kitchen – Shepherd’s Grain growers donated Shepherd’s Grain All Purpose Flour to the faith-based organization focused on providing lunch, sometimes breakfast and other food related support to women in the Spokane-area.
- Green Plate Special – Five-pound bags of Shepherd’s Grain All Purpose Flour were donated to the community kitchen and grocery distribution organization to provide for families experiencing food insecurity through partnerships with local non-profits.
“Without our customers and the communities that support us, we would be nothing,” continued Art Schultheis, whose Diamond S Farms is located in Colton, Wash. “The small amount of help that we as a family of producers can give to help them sustain them and their businesses through these difficult times is very important.”
In Oregon, Shepherd’s Grain growers gave cash and flour donations to organizations including:
- Oregon Food Bank – farmers at Shepherd’s Grain donated pallets of Shepherd’s Grain All Purpose Flour to the regional food bank distributing food through a statewide network of 21 regional food banks and 1,400 food assistance sites serving Oregon and Clark County, WA.
- Feed it Forward PDX – Shepherd’s Grain All Purpose Flour and cash were donated to the organization through Toro Bravo Inc Restaurant Group to help Portlanders facing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Celilo Restaurant & Bar – Shepherd’s Grain growers donated cash to provide free meal kits to frontline workers and vulnerable members of the Hood River community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have always been focused on connecting with the folks who use our grain, and working together to supply healthy food to communities and customers,” said Oregon-based Shepherd’s Grain farmer David Brewer. “We know that giving back to our communities in this challenging time is the right thing to do—and just one more way of being responsible and sustainable in our farming practices.
In Idaho, the company contributed to the following organization:
- Idaho Food Bank – farmers at Shepherd’s Grain donated pallets of Shepherd’s Grain All Purpose Flour to the organization focused on helping to feed, educate and advocate for Idaho’s hungry.
“Our customers have supported us for so long, and it feels only right that as a company and as growers we support them in return,” “said Idaho-based farmer, Eric Odberg, located on Odberg Farms near Genesee. “The impacts of COVID-19 have been tremendous across the Pacific Northwest, and in this incredibly-challenging time, these contributions are the very least we can do.”
Good for the flour and good for the planet
As a grower-owned company, Shepherd’s Grain farmers practice soil-regenerating, no-till farming that improves the quality of the land and soil, preventing erosion and improving nutritional sequestration in the soil—thus enhancing baking qualities and taste of the flour.
Shepherd’s Grain flours are also Food Alliance-certified and identity-preserved—meaning that customers can find the farmer who grew their food simply by using identification numbers on their bag then visiting the “Find Your Grower” page on the Shepherd’s Grain website.
The company began selling 50-pound bags of flour to professional bakers via sourcing mills in 2003, began offering its five-pound bags online in 2017, and began selling five-pound bags of Shepherd’s Grain All-Purpose Flour and Whole Wheat Flour in 2020 at 60 well-known grocery retailers/markets across the Pacific Northwest, including Whole Foods, New Seasons Market, Town & Country / Central Markets, Market of Choice, and Haggen.
The company also offers 50-pound bags of flour, including: Shepherd’s Grain Enriched Unbleached High Gluten Strength Flour, Unbleached Enriched Low Gluten Strength Flour, Shepherd’s Grain Whole Wheat Flour, Unbleached Pastry Flour, Fine Cake Flour, Brown Flax Seed, Durum Semolina—which professional customers can purchase through many distributors in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon and soon in California.