The Big Idea: Perennial Grains
We are grateful for National Geographic’s attention to perennial grains. The Land Institute’s mission is challenging, as is the task of explaining it. Our research aims to bring the processes of nature to farms. Perennial species mixtures could improve soil fertility and pest resistance, leading to less reliance on fossil fuels and a host of chemical inputs. To make this possible, we are breeding a suite of perennial grain staples that will have high yields and grow in mixtures mindful of the way the prairie works. The benefits will apply wherever grains are grown — over time they could affect much of the 70 percent of cropland currently used for grain worldwide.