Food Programme

BBC Radio 4

Arts, Food

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Investigating every aspect of the food we eat


The Grain Divide

February 2nd, 2015

Episode 507 of 661 episodes

Wheat has, since the dawn of agriculture, been especially treasured amongst all of the food crops, and is now the most widely cultivated food plant on the planet. However, the relationship between humans and wheat has changed a great deal in recent times. With a high-profile documentary film, 'The Grain Divide', about to go on global release, Dan Saladino discovers a worldwide movement of farmers, bakers and breeders rethinking and rediscovering wheat - from long-lost varieties and flavours to re-imagining the future of our relationship with this grain. The film's Director, JD McLelland, explains how his film aims to change perceptions of wheat - and why this matters. Dan also talks to one of the stars of the film, chef Dan Barber - who's breeding a new variety of wheat named Barber Wheat, and is leading the charge to look again at the taste of wheat. On the archipelago of Svalbard, far north of the northernmost point of mainland Norway, is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Tunneled into the permafrost there lies a store of seeds like no other - which serves as a 'backup' facility, with samples from every country in the world. It houses the largest collection of wheat varieties on the planet. Dr Cary Fowler, who helped to set up the seed vault - reveals about the role wheat's past has to play in our future. Dan also meets Andy Forbes from Brockwell Bake, sourdough specialist Vanessa Kimbell and author of "Our Daily Bread - A History of the Cereals" - Professor Åsmund Bjørnstad... as well as Gotland farmer Curt Niklasson, whose life has been changed forever by the contents of a wooden treasure chest. Presenter: Dan Saladino Producer: Rich Ward.

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