Want to fight climate change? Buy turkeys, beer and veggies grown with this new method.
Excerpt from the article featuring Kernza®:
Drawn to wheat production in Kansas, General Mills has hosted soil health academies in partnership with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. At least 150 Kansas farmers have attended and two dozen farmers around Hutchinson and Cheney Lake, in south-central Kansas, have become part of their regenerative program, said Steve Rosenzweig, a senior soil specialist at the company.
Regenerative practices are expanding through companies like General Mills, which in 2019 committed to converting one million acres to regenerative agriculture by 2030.
Products such as Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, which is owned by General Mills, use regeneratively grown crops.
Rosenzweig said bringing consumers along on the regenerative journey will take some time. For one, more data is needed to be able to clearly communicate the impact. Certification could be beneficial, but some consumers are already feeling “label fatigue,” he said.
“It might just be more important to talk about the story,” he said. “There are so many different ways into regenerative ag because it helps improve farmers’ economic resilience, and rural communities, which might resonate with some consumers, or the biodiversity story, which might resonate with others.”
Cascadian Farm, a subsidiary of General Mills, is also using Kernza in some of its cereals.
The grain was developed by The Land Institute in Salina. Because it’s a perennial, it does not have to be planted every year which reduces tilling between crops. And having a root in the ground year-round holds the soil in place, resulting in less erosion, said Tessa Peters, the institute’s director of crop stewardship.
Fifteen farmers in Kansas are raising Kernza and nationally, it’s grown on about 6,000 acres.
The grain is used by companies including Patagonia Provisions and Columbia County Bread and Granola.
“They could never bring it to market if it doesn’t taste good,” Peters said. “In my opinion, it has a really nutty, delicious flavor that is appealing and makes it a viable commercial product.”