#Human Rights
United States of America

Charbel Abrache is a highly exceptional baker who is sharing his techniques widely in the baking community.
Charbel works and partners with Jonathan Bethony, one of the leading artisanal bakers in America. The original Unique Selling Point of Jonathan’s Seylou Bakery in Washington, D.C., was that Seylou mills its own flour and bakes everything with 100% of the whole grain.

More than five years ago, when Charbel interviewed for his job as pastry chef at Seylou, Jonathan rather dropped a bomb on him: “I want our pastry department to use as little wheat flour as possible. Only for goods that truly require gluten (such as croissants and other laminated pastries). For everything else, we’re going to find tasty, locally produced, non-wheat ingredients we can buy whole and mill ourselves, just-in-time.”

This was truly revolutionary. Wheat flour, in particularly highly refined wheat flour, is the staple of pastry-making. Now Jonathan wanted to stand convention on its head, and Charbel was to make it happen. And he has! Not only has Charbel fully succeeded, by taking pastry-making to new levels in terms of nutritional value, sustainability, and eating pleasure, he has openly shared his discoveries and development with America’s artisan bread community.

Our country needs people like Charbel. But we are in danger of losing him.
Charbel is from Venezuela, a place that has undergone so much change, since he left for a better life in the USA some six years ago, that he simply cannot go back. The U.S. Government, however, wants to send him back. His battle for a Green Card to fully legitimize his residency has been going for years, yielding a filing cabinet full of support documents and renewed applications, as well as response letters of insufficiency from the officials who are in a position to approve his application.

Worst of all, for America: the process itself is sapping his professional energy. The lack of legitimacy, too, is limiting his mobility and his ability to spread the word on his discovery of “What Pastry Can Be!”

You can help open the eyes of the officials responsible for ensuring that we make room in our country for productive, energetic, creative people, to innovators who will (or already do) work every day to make America a better place by signing this petition.

To whom it may concern:

We, undersigned members of the broader grains movement, are farmers, bakers (both professional and amateur), and other users of grains who are passionate about the promotion of regenerative grain production and healthy baked goods using regeneratively grown grains.

We are signing this petition in support of Charbel Abrache’s efforts to change his immigration status to be able to stay permanently in the United States.

Why do we support Charbel and why do we think his remaining permanently in the USA is in the national interest? The answer is simple – Charbel and his pastries are at the forefront of this very positive and necessary movement. He makes delicious pastries like no one else, whole grain pastries that celebrate the full flavor and nutritional value of the grains. While in Washington DC, Charbel has pioneered the use of grains produced in crop rotations, such as buckwheat, millet, sorghum, and barley, that often otherwise go to waste. NOT ONLY HAS HE CREATED A GENRE OF TREATS OF EXCEPTIONAL FOOD QUALITY, BUT HE HAS ALSO DEMONSTRATED THAT OUR DEPENDANCE ON WHEAT FOR PASTRY-BAKING IS AN EASILY CORRECTED ERROR. As Charbel widely shares his techniques in the baking community, BAKERS ARE TAKING NOTICE. He is demonstrating in practice that pastries can be wholesome and healthy and, at the same time, even more delicious than standard pastries made with heavily processed carbohydrates (e.g., white flour and sugar). And his practice is increasingly gaining attention. We need people like Charbel to provide alternatives to the current eating patterns in the US that are heavily focused on processed carbohydrates and have produced our present public health crisis of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other life-threatening morbidities. We also need people like Charbel to give farmers a market for regenerative agriculture in the face of the dominant large-scale agricultural practices resulting in dramatic loss of topsoil and dependence on unhealthy chemical fertilizers and pesticides in our country. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, WE NEED CHARBEL TO SHOW HOW AMERICA CAN GUARANTEE ITS FOOD SOVEREIGNTY SHOULD WORLD WHEAT MARKETS FAIL.

Hence, we urge you to approve Charbel Abrache’s change of status so that he can continue to contribute to our broader community and to our nation.

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The Help keep master pastry chef Charbel Abrache in the US petition to charbel@seylou.,com was written by Mark Woodward and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.