Transforming Agriculture, Perennially



Marty Christians

Research Technician, Kernza®

Marty grew up on a dairy and crop farm in southwest Minnesota. He attended Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and received Bachelor degrees in the fields of Art and Environmental Studies. After college he was a garden intern at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin, and also worked for Applied Ecological Services on native prairie, wetland and forest restoration projects in Wisconsin. Working as a technician on the Kernza® crop at The Land Institute, Marty does a lot of hoeing and hand pulling of weeds out in the field plots. He has also spent many hours in front of a threshing machine processing samples of Kernza®. Marty enjoys working on a crop that has a lot of potential and hopes to see it grown on a larger scale some day in the not-too-distant future. “It’s fun to think that I have been able to be a small part of that,” says Marty.


What drew you to work at The Land Institute?
I remember being taught about the effect of some of our human practices within the context of the natural world. I was standing in a foot of silt at the bottom of a small stream in northwest Iowa and thinking about how that streambed, at one time, was a healthy and functioning ecosystem. I have wanted to help make a difference in promoting a healthier natural world.

What Land Institute perennial crop do you look forward to eating most, and how would you prepare it?
Since I work with Kernza®, that is what I would enjoy eating the most. I have eaten Kernza and enjoyed it in pancakes, tortilla shells, and cookies.

What else are you passionate about (outside of work)?
In my small town, I have been a part of an effort to start up a community garden. Many people in the community have contributed to it and some people also have their own plots. Most members have grown vegetables and flowers, but we hope to plant fruit trees and establish perennial crops there as well in the future. I love my family and being a father. I also love reading, canoeing, and participating in sporting events.

If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
How Not to Grow Fruit Trees in North Central Kansas, or A History of Christianity and the Natural World.

Support the work of Marty and others at The Land Institute with a donation.


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