In 2008, a small-scale flour miller from British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast created a handmade bike mill to attract a dedicated farmers’ market following. Chris Hergesheimer wanted to challenge the belief that there is only one way—the big way—to grow, process and market grain and flour. For Chris and his family, it wasn’t about profit, but connecting a community to its food producers for better health, lower impact on the environment, and the kind of flapjacks only fresh-milled flour can make. But Chris Hergesheimer and his brother Josh could not have predicted that this unique contraption would take them on the journey of their lives.
Committed to their cause, and believing in its value despite the dismal economic outlook, the Hergesheimer brothers follow their passion for local on a transcontinental journey. From the rainforests of Roberts Creek, BC, to the bustling streets of Kampala, Uganda, and finally onwards to the village of Panlang in the northwestern corner of South Sudan, The Flour Peddler is the story of two community-minded entrepreneurs as they set out to build and deliver their bicycle-powered grain mill to a rural women’s cooperative in a tiny village. Chris and Josh come face to face with the realities of life in South Sudan when war breaks out and their microcapitalism mission becomes a race to leave the country before violence makes escape impossible.
Part grain-chain analysis, part bare-all exposé, The Flour Peddler is a unique and gripping story that explores the trends and issues of local food systems as well as the challenges and power of alternative food movements. For the Hergesheimer brothers, it is also a journey of surprising adventure, from broken-down market vans, fraudulent bus tickets and hungry bears to a Russian helicopter, an attempted coup and a heart-wrenching homecoming.
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About the Author
Josh Hergesheimer is a writer and photographer. He has a master of arts in human rights from the University of Sussex and a master of science in nationalism and ethnicity from the London School of Economics. His writing and photography have appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Vancouver Observer, This magazine, Al-Jazeera International, the Globe & Mail and the Georgia Straight. Since travelling to South Sudan, he was commissioned by the Overseas Press Club of America to write a guide for journalists visiting the country. Josh lives in Vancouver.