business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Washington Post has a fascinating story about a new kind of wheat called kernza, described as "a grain that is fundamentally unlike all other wheat humans grow."

Here's some context:

"Most commercial crops are annual. They provide only one harvest and must be replanted every year. Growing these foods on an industrial scale usually takes huge amounts of water, fertilizer and energy, making agriculture a major source of carbon and other pollutants. Scientists say this style of farming has imperiled Earth’s soils, destroyed vital habitats and contributed to the dangerous warming of our world.

"But Kernza — a domesticated form of wheatgrass developed by scientists at the nonprofit Land Institute — is perennial. A single seed will grow into a plant that provides grain year after year after year. It forms deep roots that store carbon in the soil and prevent erosion. It can be planted alongside other crops to reduce the need for fertilizer and provide habitat for wildlife.

"In short, proponents say, it can mimic the way a natural ecosystem works — potentially transforming farming from a cause of environmental degradation into a solution to the planet’s biggest crises."

You can read the entire story here.

KC's View:

As I often say here, one of the reasons I love doing MNB is that I learn something every day.  For example, here's something I didn't know:  "More than half of all calories consumed by people come from grains, and no one has ever domesticated a grain that lived beyond a year."

I had no idea.  But, as the Post points out, it may provide "a recipe for fighting climate change and feeding the world."  Which sounds like some needed good news at a time when the natural world seems to be going to hell.