Have you heard of Kernza? Cascadian Farm is using its position in the organic food movement to highlight a food that could change the planet.
Cascadian Farm has been a leader in the organic food movement. What started as a home farm has evolved into a strong voice for farmers who are considerate of the land, people and planet. In the company’s newest initiative, the brand looks to educate as well as impact change one grain at a time. Are you ready to pour a bowl of Kernza?
Many foodies, food conscious families and trend setters are often looking for the next “food.” Whether it is an exotic spice, under-utilized cut of meat or undiscovered food source, the new often sparks people’s attention.
Additionally, consumers are more educated about their food. Organic needs to be more than just a label. People want to know the how, why and because associated with the food.
Those growing questions lead to a bigger discussion. While chefs can convey the importance of supporting farmers, those farms have a bigger impact than providing the sustenance on the table. Farming can affect climate change.
According to Cascadian Farm, “agriculture contributes to about 30 percent of global greenhouse emissions.” Given that impact, exploring farming practices that are climate-beneficial is imperative. One way is with crops.
Have you heard of Kernza? As a resident foodie, this grain wasn’t on my food trend watch list. After talking with Cascadian Farm Marketing Director, Maria Carolina Comings, the possibilities that this perennial grain can offer is extraordinary.
A relatively recent development, this perennial grain is species of perennial wheat grass. While not necessarily like the ingredient in your morning smoothie, this grain has numerous characteristics that make it climate-beneficial.
Since I am not a botanist, the term perennial grain meant nothing to me. Comings defined it as “crop that remains productive year after year.” In this case, the “Kernza crops don’t die after harvest” and don’t have to “start over” at the beginning of each season.
Still, that aspect is just part of what makes this grain so potentially influential. Kernza’s roots can grow up 10 feet (versus a traditional wheat’s roots of three feet).
Deep roots help in several ways. These roots can help with “greenhouse gas carbon, build healthy soil, improve wildlife habitat, protect water resources and produce food for people to eat.”
The key take away is the idea that the deep roots are believed to capture “carbon from the air and storing it in the ground.” Think about that concept this way. Some people have a houseplant because it can help to clean the indoor air. This grain’s super long roots helps to pull more bad from the air and turn it into good.
While the carbon reduction is a huge selling point, this grain has numerous benefits for the environment. One interesting aspect is its benefit to bees. Since this grain doesn’t have to be disturbed for harvest, the bees (and pollinators) could reap rewards.
Bees need undisturbed land for nesting. Without bees (and pollinators), plants and environment suffers. This additional benefit is just as important as the carbon issue.
Still, all the biological benefits won’t matter if people don’t know about or eat the grain. Becoming educated on this issue is just the first step. Cascadian Farm, through the Deeply Rooted for Good campaign, is raising awareness for this issue.
The brand is launching its small-batch, limited-edition Honey Toasted Kernza® Cereal. Since this grain and its farming are still in its infancy, only 6,000 boxes are available. To learn about and support this cause, people are encouraged to visit DeeplyRootedForGood.com.
At present, this grain is not commercially available on a large scale. While Cascadian Farm is using it in this limited edition cereal, the grain can be used in bread, tortillas, pasta and even beer.
In some cases, this box of cereal might be the “most important box of cereal Cascadian Farm has ever made.” As a trusted brand, the company is using its platform to educate consumers. If consumers demand this cereal, and in turn the grain, the expansion possibilities are many.
Granted there will be trial and error as farmers learn more about this grain. With the goal of a larger-scale market by 2040, consumers’ interest and demand for this type of game changing product will help advance that goal.
Discovering this perennial grain, Kernza, isn’t just for foodies or trend-setters. When a food can have a positive impact on the environment everyone should at least take the opportunity to try this food. Why it won’t completely negate that bag of salad that you threw away (again), it could be a wonderful addition to your cereal bowl, bread for your sandwich or even that refreshing beer on a leisurely Saturday afternoon.
Are you ready to commit to be deeply rooted for good? Yes, it is possible to start a change one grain at a time.