Scientist at Salina’s The Land Institute recognized for work creating a perennial grain
Scientists at Salina’s The Land Institute are working diligently to create a new crop from wild perennial wheatgrass, a difficult task that is expected to reap significant benefits.
Lee DeHaan, Ph.D., is the lead scientist working on the domestication of Kernza, a wheatgrass perennial that the institute hopes to see in fields as a dual purpose forage and grain crop.
“I started working on this crop about 15 years ago,” DeHaan said. “It’s a difficult job and it’s long-term work to make a new crop from scratch, essentially, starting with wild plants and making new crops we can grow for grain. But it’s worthwhile because of the high benefits.”
DeHaan’s work recently was recognized by EatingWell, a publication that focuses on healthy eating. He was named one of the first annual American Food Heroes, “top individuals making an outsized difference in the biggest food, sustainability and nutrition issues of today,” an EatingWell release said.