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Is Kernza the Agricultural Grain of the Future?

If you haven't heard about Kernza before, don't fret. This amazing grain was first developed by the scientists at The Land Institute in 2008.

Since then, this scientific marvel has inspired many farmers and agricultural scientists to take a closer look and its many nutritional and environmental benefits mean you will probably be hearing more about Kernza in the near future.

So, what is it? Kernza is a form of wheatgrass, but what makes it stand out from other commercial crops is that it’s grown from a single seed that regrows year after year. It's therefore a perennnial.

Unlike wheat or barley, which must be replanted each season, Kernza regrows itself, eliminating soil-degrading replanting methods and reducing the need for water, fertilizer, and energy. Its deep root systems also extend down ten feet, making it great for storing carbon, reports GreenMatters.

Kernza has a sweet, nutty flavor and can be used to make breads and cereals. Though it isn't gluten free, it has less gluten than wheat, according to the official Kernza FAQ page. It’s currently most commonly found in ground flour form, but it can even be malted or directly added to beer and whiskey.

Kernza hasn't been genetically modified, so even certified organic farmers are able to purchase the seeds.

The Kansas based Land Institute says that this ecologically beneficial perennial grain has already made its way into the commercial supply chain in small niche markets, and that they are working toward a future that includes multiple varieties of Kernza that are economical for farmers around the world to produce at large scale.

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