Kernza Crunch: Racing to develop the world’s first perennial grain crop

State of Change episode 20, Kernza Crunch: Racing to develop the world's first perennial grain crop
, By Clean Wisconsin

How often do we think about the food we eat and its impact on climate?

A new food product called Kernza® perennial grain is part of a major effort to fight climate change by changing what we plant and eat. But can Kernza really find a place on dinner tables – and in cereal bowls –across Wisconsin? In this episode, we sit down to taste a few samples and learn why changing farming systems is key to helping our climate.

Kernza® is the perennial grain crop from an improved intermediate wheatgrass developed by The Land Institute in Kansas. Research partners in the US, including Wisconsin and Minnesota, and abroad continue to improve the grain.

Thank you to our guests: Nicole Tautges, agro-ecologist with the Michael Field Institute; Valentin Picasso, associate professor of agronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Scott Laeser, Clean Wisconsin Water Program Director

Host: Amy Barrilleaux, Clean Wisconsin

Background Reading:

  • Agriculture is responsible for 15% of Wisconsin’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and that contribution is growing. Find out how natural climate solutions like perennial agriculture can help – and why they’re urgently needed in Wisconsin on our Natural Climate Solutions page.
  • Learn more about the Land Institute and its work to develop new perennial crops.
  • The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) is a statewide collaboration of scientists and stakeholders formed as a partnership between UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. WICCI’s goals are to evaluate climate change impacts on Wisconsin and foster solutions. Read the 2021 Assessment Report here.

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