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Cascadian Farm Partners to Help Scale-Up Kernza®

The Land Institute is pleased to announce another significant partnership in the retail food industry.  Cascadian Farm, a pioneer in the organic food movement, and parent company General Mills today announced their work with The Land Institute to help commercialize our Kernza® perennial grain.

Kernza® perennial grain was developed by The Land Institute to help address the growing problems of soil erosion, greenhouse gas pollution, groundwater depletion, fertilizer runoff, and other negative impacts of industrialized annual crops. Perennials are deep-rooted plants that may be grown year after year with minimal tilling, fertilizers, fossil fuels, and pesticides while using water more efficiently than annual crops and rebuilding healthy soil.

As part of The Land Institute’s vision for a truly sustainable food system, Kernza® perennial grain grown in polyculture mixtures may soon offer more farmers an alternative to industrial agricultural methods.

Cascadian Farm has agreed to purchase an initial amount of the perennial grain for use in organic products, providing a buyer at a volume that allows growers to plant on commercial-scale fields versus the test sized plots currently under production.

In addition, General Mills approved a $500,000 charitable contribution to the partnership of The Land Institute and the Forever Green Initiative at the University of Minnesota to support advanced research to measure the potential of Kernza® to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production, determine best management practices for sustainable production, and increase yields through breeding.

Cascadian Farm/General Mills joins Patagonia Provisions and Hopworks Brewery and a growing cadre of culinary leaders and innovators using Kernza® perennial grain in beverages, baked goods, side dishes, desserts, and more, including: Tracy Singleton, owner of the Birchwood Café and Jeff Casper of Dumpling and Strand in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Zachary Golper at Bien Cuit in Brooklyn, New York; and Karen Leibowitz and Anthony Myint, co-founders of The Perennial in San Francisco, California.

From Cascadian Farm’s press release:  “The length, size, and long life of the roots enable the grain to provide measurable soil health benefits and drought resistance while preventing soil erosion and storing critical nutrients – potentially turning agriculture into a soil-forming ecosystem. This partnership with General Mills and investment by Cascadian Farm, promises to be a significant boost, helping take this planet-friendly grain to the next level of viability as a food ingredient.  Additionally we anticipate it will allow researchers to more precisely measure the impact of widespread Kernza® perennial grain cultivation on carbon sequestration.”

Questions about Kernza®?  Visit our website or contact The Land Institute here.

If you are a farmer or culinary professional interested in purchasing Kernza® seed or flour to make more delicious dishes, you can find more information from our Kernza® marketing partner here.

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