Welcome! I am Mona Esposito, lover and advocate of all things grain and affectionately dubbed the Grain Lady- I’ve also been called the grain pimp but that’s another story. With degrees in art history and linguistics, a career in photography, and an Italian mother I was perfectly poised for a life of travel, food and wine. I am as at home in the garden as in the kitchen and was raised with the notion of food and place. It is no accident that all these vectors have led me on the journey to rediscover the importance of whole grains historically, culturally and gastronomically. I have been an avid bread baker for over 10 years. Until recently I had overlooked one of the main ingredients in bread baking- the flour! Like many, I had limited knowledge of the anatomy of a grain of wheat let alone the differences between modern refined varieties of wheat and whole grain heritage varieties. In essence, I had lost touch with my food source and relinquished my choices for whole grains that are brimming with flavor and superior nutrition.
This July, Slow Food Nations Denver 2019 marked the launch of the Colorado Grain Chain, a 501c5 non-profit trade based membership organization, dedicated to developing and promoting a sustainable heritage grain economy in the state of Colorado. We are comprised of farmers, millers, bakers, chefs, brewers, distillers and consumers. Our founding members are locally owned and operated entities who are working towards a decentralized and state-wide value chain based on principles of transparency, cooperation, biodiversity, community service, equity, and nutritious and flavorful food. Our shared practices include regenerative farming techniques, identity-preserved products, food safety and traceability, artisanship and the development of short supply chains. As President, I am dedicated to supporting and recreating the network of farmers, millers and makers needed to make a regional grain economy thrive. The aim is to get heritage grains, which are better for our health and the earth, back into the hearts, minds and mouths of our community. As a food system activist my passion is rediscovering and igniting others to get excited about the story of wheat at our table - it's journey from seed to table - and the deliberate decisions we can make about what we choose to eat, how we eat and how we engage with our communities.
BECOME A GRAIN CHANGER
Through my work I have connected with many “grainiacs” who are as passionate as I am about working with whole grains and who have shared their experiences with me. On this journey I have learned and continue to learn about the importance of bringing whole grains back to our table. It is no accident that the term “breaking bread” signifies coming together as a community to share a meal but so much more. You are my community and I intend to take you on my journey and share my experiences and knowledge with you so that you too can become a grain changer.