Touching lives one grain at a time…

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From Laura Lewis, WSU Food Systems State-wide Leader and Cascadia Grains Conference Chair

It all started when…

Cascadia Grains was born in 2013 out of a desire to connect farmers, processors, and resource providers across the regional specialty grain economy in western Washington.  The WSU Bread Lab, WSU Extension Pierce County, and WSU Extension Thurston County led the original effort to develop a complimentary sister event to the successful Grain Gathering.  WSU, in partnership, with community-based organizations, secured funding through an USDA Risk Management grant to hold the very first Cascadia Grains event in Tacoma, WA in 2013.  

Since 2015, the Cascadia Grains Conference has transitioned to Olympia in partnership with South Puget Sound Community College.  Attendance continues to increase each year, with over 400 participants in 2018 from across the specialty grain economy.  Participants also represent stakeholders from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Northern California, and British Columbia.  

As we move into the next seven years of the Cascadia Grains project, we continue to look for opportunities to expand our programming through FARMWALKS, grain-related showcase events, and an emerging East Side Conference. We will continue to provide support for an emerging regional grain network and provide education to our stakeholders through networking and convening lives -- one grain at a time.  

“The Cascadia Grains Conference is one of the few venues where farmers, millers, bakers, brewers, distillers, maltsters and processors can all get together in one place and ask ‘how do we make the idea of a local grain economy work?”

George DePasquale I Essential Baking Company, Seattle, WA 

Coordinating Team

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Laura Lewis, Ph.D.

Statewide Leader of WSU Food Systems and Cascadia Grains Conference Chair

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Aba Kiser

Project Manager for WSU Food Systems and Cascadia Grains Event Organizer 

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Nicole Witham

Statewide Coordinator for WSU food systems and Cascadia Grains outreach and Graphics

Lane Selman

Founder of the Culinary breeding network and plant breeder with osu. culinary coordinator for the cascadia grains conference

Brooke Saari

Extension Coordinator for Washington State University Center for Sustaining Ag & Natural Resources


The Cascadia Grains Conference is proudly presented by

The New Washington State University Food Systems Program delivers multidisciplinary expertise  across academic, research, and extension, providing specialized resources for farmers and food systems contributors. We seek to work with communities throughout the state to foster viable farm businesses, optimize sustainable natural resource stewardship, and to promote scaled processing and distribution, always in the pursuit of access to healthy food for all. 

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Steering Committee


The Steering Committee is composed of individuals who work in the public and private sectors or for economic development organizations. Through monthly planning meetings, the Steering Committee provides input on the program topics and speakers, brings in resources to support the Conference through financial and in-kind sponsorships, promotes the Conference regionally, and participates in the Conference as support staff, speakers or facilitators.