Wheat Traveled 4,500 Miles to Arrive at the Altar Table

Workshop participants drew this map of wheat's journey to the altar
Workshop participants drew this map of wheat's journey to the altar

At a Farm to Altar Table workshop participants sketched the supply chain shown above and guessed that the communion wafers traveled 2,000 miles from the farm to the altar of St. John’s Episcopal Church Ross, California. The assumptions seemed to be a reasonable representation of our industrialized food system.  I then researched the actual parties involved. The wheat was grown in central Ohio and milled at another location in Ohio. The flour was then shipped to Cavanagh Company in Rhode Island which produces the wafers. There are at least four different distribution centers inserted into this supply chain from seed distribution to the farm, from distribution center to the mill and from the manufacturing in Rhode Island to South San Francisco and finally arrive at St. John's.  The actual total miles traveled was over 4,500!   Hardly local and hardly sustainable.  We can do better.