Engineering Consulting & Grant Administration
Southern Arizona Local Wheat and Wheat Flour Promotion Program
Barrio Grains is a community supported grain business that is committed to strengthening local grain economy and building local food network in Southern Arizona. Don Guerra, founder of Barrio Grains, grew up in the Phoenix area and enjoyed baking with his mother and eating his nana’s tortillas. He attended the University of Arizona to study anthropology and then headed to Flagstaff, Arizona. Don worked in several bakeries before opening The Village Baker of Flagstaff in 1995. A few years later, he moved to Ashland, Oregon to open The Village Baker of Ashland.
After returning to Tucson, Don completed a degree in education and taught K-12 grade students for seven years. As time passed, he yearned to return to the artistry and passion of his baking days and started experimenting with new recipes. A “garage bakery remodel” yielded Barrio Bread in 2009 and the Community Supported Baker was born. Barrio in Spanish means neighborhood, a name he chose since his neighbors were the lucky recipients of his first Tucson loaves. This sense of community is embedded in every aspect of the business. In 2016 Don was named one of the Top Ten Bakers in America by Dessert Professionals Magazine. He also received the “Leveraging Your Localness” award from Bite Magazine, Good Food Finder USA and Local First Arizona.
In 2017, Don started noticing the shortage of local flour and the difficulty that the local farmers are facing to direct market their agricultural products. Then he founded Barrio Grain to work with local/regional farmers, to increase the access and the domestic consumption of locally and regionally produced wheat and wheat products, and to create new market opportunities for wheat growers to directly market their products.
The overarching goal of this project is to develop a local/regional grain enterprise to promote local wheat economy in Southern Arizona and help to increase the access and availability to locally produced wheat and value-added wheat products, while offering a sustainable community solution of creating jobs and improving the economic viability for small food producers in the region.
The purposes of this grant are to complete a feasibility study and a business plan for a community-based grain enterprise to meet the following objectives:
Objective 1:Increase the domestic access and consumption of locally/regionally produced heritage grains and related value-added products in Southern Arizona through: i) collaborating with local farmers and local food businesses; and ii) providing outreach/public education to promote healthy eating and life style.
Objective 2:Develop new market opportunities for local growers to serve local food markets in Southern Arizona by i) supporting value-added process developments (grain milling, bread making, etc.); ii) providing direct consulting services and technical assistance to small farms, grain milling operations, and small/emerging food businesses; and iii) assisting with the development of any local food promotion activities.
Objective 3:Improve the economic viability of local food producers and food business owners i) connecting the food producer directly to consumers; ii) reducing unnecessary food waste by effective aggregation, marketing, and distribution; and iii) strengthening the relationships between local farmers and USDA agencies.
Objective 4:Improve food safety compliance among local food producers and food businesses by providing food safety trainings/workshops.
Objective 5:Stimulate rural economy by creating new and sustainable jobs, careers, and business opportunities.
This is an info session on the ins and outs of FDA food labels. This is meant to be a very practical info session for small business owners and vendors who are exploring the option of selling food products through retail. A huge thanks to Professor Tedley Pihl and Professor Kim Krumhar of the University of Arizona Department of Nutritional Sciences for taking the time to present the information and answer questions!