Texas State students take bite out of food insecurity and organic waste
Manuel Garcia | March 4, 2019
According to the Hays County Food Bank, one in seven Hays county residents, including over 8,000 children, are food insecure. Unfortunately, only 41 percent of eligible people in Hays County receive help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The bottom line is, many people in Central Texas are not receiving balanced diets that promote healthy lifestyles.
Delorean Wiley, sustainability studies graduate student at Texas State University, is working to change this. She is the owner and operator of the Wily Baker LLC, whose mission is to resolve the food insecurity crisis by baking bread products with an artisan Resurrection Breads© mixture. The bread is made with re-used grains, known as brewers spent grain (BSG), from local breweries.
“The reason why we are focusing on the Hays and Guadalupe area is because they’re food insecure areas,” Wiley said. “This by-product [BSG], we send it to feedlots because it’s high in protein and high in fiber. It has a lot of nutrients in it that would just be going to waste otherwise. We thought if it’s good enough for a cow, why wouldn’t it be good enough for a human being?”
Upcycling BSG, creating a higher value product from a waste stream, helps local craft breweries and distilleries become more environmentally sustainable, too. Throughout Central Texas, craft beverage producers send their used grain to ranches. Because livestock are the main consumers of the grain, large amounts of greenhouse gases (methane specifically) are released into the atmosphere, causing harmful effects to the environment, thus adding to the carbon footprint in the beer production lifecycle.
Instead, the Wily Baker uses these grains to feed local community members. To do this, the company partners with Five Stones Brewery, a New Braunfels brewery owned and operated by Texas State alumni. To create the bread mix, the Wily Baker collects five to ten gallons of used grain each month. The Resurrection Breads© mix shown in the picture is a combination of their “Fracking Black Camo,” a pale stout made with stout malt, flaked barley, wheat and oats, as well as “Shepherd Boy,” a pale ale.
Every Thursday at the Cibolo Grange Farmers & Artisans Market, the Wily Baker sells cinnamon rolls, pretzels and breads made from the Resurrection Breads© mix. In two weeks, to celebrate their one-year anniversary, the Wily Baker is expanding to the Red Barn Farmers Market & Artisan’s Alley in Seguin. By the end of 2019, the Wily Baker plans to be at San Marcos farmers markets, and to package the Resurrection Breads© mix for retail and wholesale customers .
As the Wily Baker grows, it will only hire at-risk youth, veterans or people with convictions. Ultimately, the Wily Baker would like to establish a farm-to-school program that gives kids the opportunity to eat a nutrition-based bread product while learning about sustainability.
“We have a ton of people who are protein and fiber deficient, and the Resurrection Breads© mix creates products kids are willing to eat…my best customers at the farmer’s market are kids.”
Wiley and Astrid Echegoyen, an undergraduate communications student at Texas State and a community outreach specialist for the Resurrection Breads© product, will present the Wily Baker’s work at the 2019 Texas State University Innovation Lab and Reception at the SXSW Interactive Festival on Sunday, March 10 in the ballroom at the W Austin, 200 Lavaca Street.