Transforming Agriculture, Perennially

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Five Innovative Foods We’ll Be Seeing More of in the Future

Publication: National Geographic

Author: Tracie McMillan

On a shiny list of future foods, a humble grain might not stick out. But don’t let intermediate wheatgrass, a grain long found on America’s Great Plains, fool you. Originally grown for forage, it was considered little more than a weed. Then, in the 1980s, researchers began to worry about the ways annual tillage and monocultures—the methods used to grow most grain—can diminish soil health. They began to look for perennial alternatives and landed on intermediate wheatgrass.

By the 2000s, the Land Institute, an ecologically focused agricultural research group in Kansas, was selectively breeding intermediate wheatgrass to create a variety with better yield, seed size, and disease resistance that it is calling Kernza.


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