A month from today I will be waking up in Maine, getting ready to talk about my favorite thing: fresh flour and the people who make it. The Kneading Conference has invited me to be their keynote speaker, and Iâ€™m thrilled. The Maine Grain Alliance is celebrating 10 years of this bread event, and the two days of the conference will bring my book to life.
When I first started talking to people about bread building community, the Kneading Conference kept popping up, like it was a country I had to visit. I was a little worried the place wouldnâ€™t meet my expectations, because so many people spoke so fondly of it, but this is one instance where high hopes were very much met.
I love the bread community that grows each July at the fairgrounds in Skowhegan, and the year-round attentions to farming, milling and baking that have grown in Maine. The Somerset Grist Mill, home of Maine Grains, is housed in the former county jail: talk about transformation!
Grains require so much cooperation from seed to loaf and ground to glass; Iâ€™m fascinated by the shared work that is bringing so many people together. These collaborations cross the boundaries of political affiliations and schisms, and are a real emblem of human potential in practice â€“ something we really need to see right now.
At the Kneading Conference, I canâ€™t wait to see people interacting with the stories I caught in The New Bread Basket: Blair Marvin and Andrew Heyn will be leading a milling workshop, and Peter Endriss will be teaching a full two days for home bakers. Bien Cuit, Elmore Mountain Bread, Runner & Stone. Ciril Hitz, Richard Miscovitch and Zach Golper will be there too. I admire all of these bakers and bakeries to no end and canâ€™t wait to be near them.
Iâ€™m excited to meet other presenters and attendees, too — like bread, the days will be a chance to share and get full, mind, body and soul. Find out more about the conference here.