Monday, September 27, 2010

Urban Wheat Field - Washington, DC

A view of the Capitol from the Urban Wheat Field site

The Urban Wheat Field hosted by National Association of Wheat Growers in partnership with the Wheat Foods Council in Washington DC was amazing, to say the least.  My blog will have lots of pictures and I will show you what the visitors saw, so it may be long, but  it is worth the read! =)  This event was designed for the urban consumer to see, from start to finish,  the journey of a wheat plant from its young green grass looking stage to the golden wheat head stage.   The stations were set up to educate the consumer about milling the product, exporting it to other countries, a baking station, and a mock-up of a grocery store isle that showed an assortment of products such as cookies, crackers, bread or flour.  The space for this event was on a quarter-acre field. 

On Wednesday, September 22, there was lots of activity going on as the wheat arrived via semi trucks as shown below.  As mentioned in an earlier blog, the wheat was grown at the University of  Maryland.

Golden ripe wheat  arrives and awaits to be unloaded

The wheat was unloaded from the semis by the forklift as shown above

Shown here is the wheat in its green grass looking stage

The combine arrives amid lots of traffic on a semi

We had been told the combine would arrive on location around 3:00a.m. to avoid traffic, but that was not the case and it arrived mid-afternoon amidst a busy street.  It was quite a sight to be seen.

The header for the combine was following on a lowboy trailer

Each step of the way through the wheat field was a sign like this that
explained the process

More information on what happens to the
wheat after it is harvested

Explaining that we also not only feed America
but export crops to feed  the world

The baking station

The baking station's tantalizing  smells automatically drew the crowd to their trailer with samples of  cinnamon rolls, bread and cookies.  Guests also received a small bag of flour as well.

The milling station showed how wheat is made into flour

 The milling station was a fun one as people got to see how wheat seeds were ground up into flour, plus there was a hand grinder there too.

A master chef was on hand to give demos on making
homemade goodies. Sample cupcakes were a hit with everyone

The master chef  gave short demos through out the day on how easy it is to make things from scratch. 

Left to right, Travis, Jerry, Robyn, Scott, me, and Joe

Many volunteers like us from the wheat producing states,were on hand to visit with people, give tours,and answer questions.  It was a great opportunity to give our urban friends a glimpse of what we get to do and see every year.  The temperature during this event was in the mid to high 90's complete with humidity, which us Idahoans are not used to. =)

A representative from Case IH (the brand of  the combine) and Joe visit.
Note the cinnamon roll in the reps hand.

Collin Peterson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee

 We were honored to have Congressmen Collin Peterson be our keynote speaker for the ceremony.  He is a farmer himself and knows the importance that agriculture plays in the American economy.

Ribbon cutting ceremony with Collin Peterson doing the honors

Joe Anderson, Travis Jones  and Scott Brown during the open ceremony
Idaho Grain Producers Association is lucky to have Travis Jones as their Executive Director, not only for his great work in this organization, but for his vast knowledge of the inner workings on Capitol Hill.  Prior to being hired as director, Travis was a legislative aid  to Senator Craig.  Thus he knew how to navigate around Capitol Hill, the proper protocol required, plus Travis still has many friends and contacts on the hill, what an asset to our organization.

Ms. Dana Peterson to the left in the black pants suit during
the opening ceremony

Ms Dana Peterson, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers, who has been on the job for less than a year, is also an asset to those of us in agriculture.  Dana and Travis spend countless hours behind the scenes to assure a better future for our industry.

Joe talking to a guest in front of the mock-up grocery store isle

Guests wandering through the exhibit 

A view from the end of the wheat field that shows the milling
station, baking station and grocery store isle

The day before, many of us went to Capitol Hill to visit with our congressmen as shown below.

On our way to Walt Minnick's office

For more pictures of this event from the National Association of Wheat Growers, click this link:


  1. How cool! I had no idea this was going on. Did you get a lot of interest from the local public or politicians about this?

  2. Katy,

    Yes interest was evident. We visited Capitol Hill and invited all the senators,their staff and had excellent TV coverage. Foot traffic was good too.

  3. This is incredible! Too bad we couldn't have displays like this around the country. I know policy and changes are made in D.C. but so many people in our own communities don't know how their food ends up on their tables.