About 87% of the world’s harvested area is cultivated with annual crops, mainly grains, that must be resown every year/season. As continued climate change is rendering our existing cultivars increasingly vulnerable to stress, a shift to perennial grain crops would turn cropping into a carbon sink for decades, would likely reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as nitrous oxide, and would significantly reduce erosion and nutrient leakage. Perennial crops also have the potential to drastically reduce the costs of farming by cutting the need for external inputs (seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, machinery, energy, and labor) and hence generate social and economic advantages particularly to farmers and rural societies.
As part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the UN is convening a Food Systems Summit to highlight how organizations are harnessing science, technology, and innovation to work towards the aspiration of efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable food systems. As a side event associated with the Science Days for the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, The Land Institute (USA) in collaboration with Birzeit University (Palestine), Lund University (Sweden), Yunnan University (China), and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Sweden), hosted a conversation about the potential of perennial agriculture.
Oct. 1, 2020–For the next installment in the Center for the Study of the American West’s (CSAW) research talk series, Aubrey Streit Krug, Director of Ecosphere Studies at The Land Institute, presented “An Integrative Story: Civic Science Communities for Perennial Crops and People.” Aubrey Streit Krug is a writer, teacher, and researcher who studies stories of relationships between humans and plants.
At The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, Aubrey leads transdisciplinary civic science communities that bring together researchers and a range of people around the US to grow and observe new perennial grain crops. These civic science projects involve collecting agroecological data and learning through people’s stories, images, and experiences. Streit Krug grew up in a small town in Kansas, where her parents farm wheat and raise cattle, and she loves limestone soils and rocky prairie hillsides. She holds a PhD in English and Great Plains Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is a co-author of the collaborative textbook The Omaha Language and the Omaha Way.
CSAW research talks are a chance for academics to share in-progress work related to the American West.
Join a virtual tour through the 206-acres of The Land Institute’s Marty Bender Nature Area, where we welcome visitors and invite local community members to explore a nearly three mile trail system through prairie and woods along the Smoky Hill River in traditional Kaw Nation homelands. Several scientific research plots are located on site. Additional features include art installations, plant and wildlife viewing, a tree swing and picnic area, scenic overlooks of the river and Salina region, and a community book share box.
Summer and harvest season are a beautiful time of the year in Kansas. Abbi Han, a research resident in our Perennial Legumes program, takes us on a mini tour of The Land Institute’s vernalization chamber. This chamber allows our researchers to create an artificial winter in order to accelerate and induce the flowering of plants in our breeding programs. Right now, it is home to several hundred Kernza® and Kura clover plants.
This tour at The Land Institute takes us through the Wauhob Prairie and down to our East Bank research plots. The Wauhob is a prairie remnant perched atop the center of The Land Institute’s campus. The hilltop also serves as an overlook down to a large cluster of research plots where our perennial grain breeding and ecology programs have a number of ongoing research experiments situated along the banks of the Smoky Hill River. The natural beauty and wide open skies of central Kansas are on full display!
Research Resident Alex Griffin at The Land Institute works with our perennial oilseeds and crop protection ecology research programs, and here she takes us through a full day of work ranging from gathering data on select silphium populations in our greenhouses to tending to the Four Sisters plot in our community garden.
Dr. Brandon Schlautman, lead scientist of The Land Institute’s perennial legumes research program discusses his research with intercropping with legumes and exploring sainfoin as a possible crop.
The seventh day of the 2020 Kernza® Conference covered marketing and partnership research projects taking place at participating research institutions. Presentation titles are below.
Cooperative Marketing Structures – Carmen Fernholz (A-Frame Farms)
Regional Coordination – Brandon Kaufman (Sustain-A-Grain, LLC)
Local Partner Supply Chains – Alan Kraus/Kristi Pursell (Canon River Watershed)
Intercropping with Alfalfa – Spencer Barriball (The Land Institute)
The sixth day of the 2020 Kernza® Conference covered ongoing market research projects taking place at participating research institutions. Specific agenda details and presentation titles are below.
Minnesota Clusters – Nick Jordan (University of Minnesota – Forever Green Initiative)
Policy/Incentive Payments – Colin Cureton (University of Minnesota – Forever Green Initiative)
Market Development – Connie Carlson (University of Minnesota – Forever Green Initiative)
Can Perennial Grains Provide Ecosystem Services in the Mediterranean Climate of California? – Kalyn Diedrich (University of California – Davis)
Malting with Patagonia Provisions – Patrick Horn and Christie Biddle
The fifth day of the 2020 Kernza® Conference covered ongoing flour/bread and seed research projects taking place at participating research institutions. Specific agenda details and presentation titles are below.
Direct to Consumer Applications – Christopher Abbott and Brian Hedberg (Sprowt Labs, Perennial Pantry)
Willingness to Pay – Nima Homami (Cornell)
Taste Panels – Julie Dawson (University of Wisconsin – Madison) and Alyssa Hartman (Artisan Grain Collaborative)
Supply Updates – Colin Cureton (University of Minnesota – Forever Green Initiative) and Tessa Peters (The Land Institute)
The fourth day of the 2020 Kernza® Conference covered ongoing ecosystem services and processing research projects taking place at participating research institutions. Specific agenda details and presentation titles are below.
Carbon Sequestration – Tim Crews (The Land Institute)
Nitrate Reduction in Water – Evelyn Reilly (University of Minnesota – Forever Green Initiative)
Processing Flows – Riley Gordon (Agricultural Utilization Research Institute)
Disease and Its Impact on Processing – Kathryn Turner (The Land Institute) and Chris Wiegert (Healthy Food Ingredients)
The third day of the 2020 Kernza® Conference covered ongoing agronomic research projects taking place at participating research institutions. Specific agenda details and presentation titles are below.
Agronomy (continued from day two)
Malting – Christopher Abbott and Brian Hedberg (Sprowt Labs, Perennial Pantry)
All Kernza Beer – Christophe David (ISARA – Lyon, France) and Christophe Bellet (Brasserie Dulion)
Can Tempering Improve Functionality of IWG? – Radhika Bharathi and George Annor (University of Minnesota Food Science)