General Mills Inc. has a notable organic and natural portfolio, with brands including Annie’s and Lärabar. This week, the company has taken the extra step to invest in that category by contributing $500,000 to support research into Kernza, an eco-friendly perennial grain.
The company’s donation will go to the Forever Green Initiative at the University of Minnesota and the nonprofit organization The Land Institute, Food Business News reported.
Through the organization, researchers will be able to develop perennial grains, which have shown a positive impact on the environment in many ways. Kernza is trademarked name for a particular variety of intermediate wheatgrass under development by The Land Institute.
“Research has demonstrated that the ecological benefits of Kernza perennial grain for agricultural systems are remarkable,” said Lee DeHaan, lead scientist for the nonprofit. “The length, size, and long life of the roots enable the grain to provide measurable soil health benefits and drought resistance while preventing soil erosion and storing critical nutrients, potentially turning agriculture into a soil-forming ecosystem.”
Cascadian Farm, another brand within General Mills’ health-focused lineup, has also agreed to buy Kernza as a potential ingredient for cereal and snacks. Through the partnership, Cascadian Farm will test-plant and monitor the grain near the Skagit River in Washington state.