Could perennial grains be the next climate-saving superstars?
A new cereal grain more than 40 years in the making is finding its way into the marketplace in several forms, including a new product from food giant General Mills. Some believe it carries the promise of a whole new type of staple crop — one that requires minimal plowing, fertilizers or pesticides — that also could become a weapon in the battle against climate change.
This is not some new food cooked up in a laboratory, but perhaps its antithesis. Kernza perennial grain, a relative of wheat, is the result of painstaking natural breeding by growers brought together by researchers at the Land Institute. Why would someone go to such an extraordinary effort? Because some believe Kernza represents a whole new type of perennial staple crop that could become a major weapon in the battle against climate change.