Perennial grains will change civilization. 'Kernza' is the first perennial grain to be domesticated by humans. Its a game-changer for humanity. Here's why. The computers we work on, the cities and towns we live in, the cars we drive, our good health entirely hinges on an agricultural revolution that started 10,000 year ago. The domestication of crops and livestock allowed hunters and gathers to settle down and spend time solving problems beyond simply feeding ourselves. Modern grains like wheat, rye, barley, corn, soybeans and rice are all products of that revolution. ⠀
However, these grains are annual - they must be replanted every year for a new harvest. 1/3 of all the land on Earth is used to grow such crops. However, annual cropping systems create some of the largest environmental damages that will not carry us sustainably into the future. Annual grains require tillage and cause soil erosion, rely on massive inputs of fertilizer, often require irrigation and are grown in vast monocultures that demand herbicides and pesticide. Kernza doesn't require these practices and can be cultivated in a polyculture with other plants to create diversity, resilience and healthy, carbon-rich soil. In the future, when water is the new oil, when soil is gold, when nature is used as measure, we will look back to Kernza as the beginning of a new agricultural revolution.
Thank you Land Institute for leading the way. Thanks @plovgh for organizing producers and distribution. Revolutions come from the margins. Revolutions start on doorsteps. ⠀
Kernza in the Mountain West. Get ready! ⠀
We are kindling a shift from annual to perennial grain production systems in the shortgrass prairie landscape of Colorado. The global potential of Kernza hinges on the widespread examination of its ability to thrive in a variety of climate and soils. The high prairie has less rainfall and less fertile soils compared to Kansas, where Kernza was developed, so we are examining how moisture affects establishment, yield and ecosystem benefits of carbon-storage and water holding capacity. We are using Kernza for fodder, distillation of whiskey and using land race techniques to create a regional seed bank for other growers.