The Grains Program aims to revitalize local agriculture in New Jersey’s Highlands region by promoting regenerative practices and value-added grain production. Currently, many farms in the area rely on conventional methods that degrade soil and harm the environment with the indiscriminate use of harmful chemical-based fertilizers and pesticides. The initiative seeks to change this by advocating for sustainable agriculture that benefits both farmers and the ecosystem.

Powered by a three-year grant from the New Jersey Highlands Council Sustainable Agriculture Program, our sights are set on strengthening the local food economy through growing earth-friendly, high-value small grains. Today, there are markets for a diverse array of crops, including modern and ancient/ heirloom wheat, einkorn, spelt, emmer, rye, hulless-oats, barley, amaranth, buckwheat, and flax. Additionally, value-added grain production offers opportunities for diversification and resilience, especially for small-scale farmers with limited land.

Through partnerships with organizations like River Valley Community Grains, Marksboro Mills and The Organic Growers’ Research and Information-Sharing Network (OGRIN), and fellow farmers, bakers, and chefs, the program will provide training, resources, and support to farmers interested in transitioning to regenerative grain production. By facilitating access to land, equipment, and markets, the initiative aims to increase the number of farmers growing value-added crops and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable and vibrant local grain economy in the Highlands region.