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
Laura Lewis, Ph.D.
Statewide Leader of WSU Food Systems and Cascadia Grains Conference Chair
Project Manager for WSU Food Systems and Cascadia Grains Event Organizer
Statewide Coordinator for WSU food systems and Cascadia Grains outreach and Graphics
Founder of the Culinary breeding network and plant breeder with osu. culinary coordinator for the cascadia grains conference
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.
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.
Frank Addeo, Director of Craft Brewing and Distilling, South Puget Sound Community College
David Bauermeister, Executive Director, Northwest Agriculture Business Center
Stephen Bramwell, Director, WSU Thurston County
Kathrine Braseth, Communications Director, City of Tumwater
Brook Brouwer, Director, WSU San Juan County
Jeremy Bunch, Logistics, Shepherd’s Grain
Rose Burke, Cascadia Grains Conference Coordinator Alumnus
Ann Cook, Communications, City of Tumwater
George DePasquale, Co-founder/Owner and Head Baker, Essential Baking Company.
Brian Estes, Operations Manager, LINC Malt
Scott Fisk, Barley Breeding Faculty Research Assistant, Oregon State University
Adam Foy, VP of Business Development, Skagit Valley Malting
Laura Helgerson, Faculty Research Assistant, OSU Crop and Soil Science
James Henderson, Hummingbird Wholesale
Steve Lyon, Senior Scientific Assistant, Bread Lab
Kevin Murphy, Assistant Professor of Barley and Alternative Crop Breeding, Washington State University.
Sara Nelson, Founder/Owner, Fremont Brewing Company
Celia Nightingale, Director, Center for Business and Innovation
Justin O’Dea, Regional Agricultural Specialist, WSU Clark County Extension
Jason Parker, Co-founder/President, Copperworks Distilling
Andrew Ross, Professor, Crop and Soil Science, Oregon State University
June Russell, Manager of Farm Inspections & Strategic Develpment at Greenmarket, GrowNYC
Brooke Saari, Extension Coordinator, Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources
Rob Salvino, Founder/President, Damsel and Hopper
Seth Small, Owner/Operator, Smalls Family Farm
James Wahl, Owner/Operator, MJW Grain