FoodMaven has announced a partnership with The Annex by Ardent Mills (The Annex), a business unit of Ardent Mills, to sell its transitional wheat flour to FoodMaven’s foodservice customers. This transitional wheat flour supports farmers as they convert their wheat crop to certified organic, easing the financial implications of transitioning and enabling them to deliver on the growing consumer demand for organic options.
“This product has a lot of potential to help wheat farmers who want to transition their operations to organic but are deterred by the upfront investment required,” says Ben Deda, CEO of FoodMaven.
Transitional wheat is not organic but is grown using organic farming practices required by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other governing agencies. After three years of growing under these conditions, the land and crops grown on it can be certified as organic.
The FoodMaven partnership builds upon Ardent Mills’ Organic Initiative. Introduced in January 2016, the program had the goal of doubling harvested organic wheat acres by 2019 by assisting farmers who are interested in expanding organic production or adding organic production to their farms. Since the launch of its Organic Initiative, Ardent Mills has expanded from two organic milling locations to 10, and the company’s organic sales have increased six-fold.
One key to the success of the Organic Initiative is Ardent Mills’ Transitional Certification Assistance Program (TCAP) which offers farmers education, support, and assistance as they transition to certified organic crops. Ardent Mills’ support also includes the opportunity for farmers to sell their transitional wheat to the company. By partnering with FoodMaven, Ardent Mills will be able to expand the reach of the program by increasing awareness and distribution of transitional wheat into more foodservice operations.
“The relationship between Ardent Mills and FoodMaven is mutually beneficial in that it not only supports farmers and consumer choice, but also delivers on Ardent Mills’ vision of developing innovative and nutritious grain-based solutions,” says Angie Goldberg, Chief Growth Officer for Ardent Mills. “FoodMaven’s philosophy and distribution model are the ideal fit for this unique ingredient and provide the missing link in giving broad access to restaurants, university dining programs and other foodservice outlets.”
FoodMaven and Ardent Mills have been collaborating over the last several years to offer a number of flours and grains to customers in Colorado. The companies have common interests in local sourcing and supporting farmer communities and are working toward the mutual goal of making transitional wheat flour available nationally.