Photo by Cynthia L. Nobles -- Sorghum has been grown for thousands of years and flour made from the ancient grain is used in Gluten-Free Sorghum Sugar Cookies.

The producer-funded organization Sorghum Checkoff on Sunday brought together national marketing and nutrition specialists to discuss ideas for promoting the grain sorghum as a food.

Sorghum was a foundation in the diets of early American settlers, and flour made from this ancient grain has lately been getting attention from folks with wheat intolerances, those attending the luncheon meeting at The Chicory in New Orleans learned.

High in antioxidants, sorghum is naturally gluten-free. It’s also not genetically modified and is most often sold as whole-grain. It’s also known as the “Camel of Crops” because of its low water requirement.

Sorghum was grown as long as 8,000 years ago in Egypt. Today, the U.S. is a leading sorghum exporter, with more than 7 million acres planted. Kansas and Texas are the top producers, with Louisiana cultivating a respectable 80,000 acres. So if you’re looking for nutritious wheat substitutes, consider sorghum, an ancient grain growing in our own backyards.

Sorghum flour may be difficult to find in south Louisiana stores. It is available online at Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur Flour and