Forever Green Initiative: Developing More Sustainable Crops

Woman looking at plants in field alongside Forever Green logo
Photo credit: University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

The Forever Green Initiative works to develop and popularize crops with sturdy root systems suitable for winter growing. They have helped develop Kernza, a hardy crop with the potential to replace wheat in a variety of foods, including pancakes and whiskey. The University of Minnesota has licensed one Kernza variety through Tech Comm, with more varieties that will be available for licensing in the coming years.

The Forever Green Initiative is also currently studying an oilseed known as camelina, a rare hardy cover crop that can survive the cold Minnesota winters and protect the soil from deterioration when heavy rains come in the springtime. Though camelina is newly on the scene, some reports suggest the potential for over five million acres of camelina to be grown in Minnesota by 2050, making it one of the most important crops of the century. Tech Comm staff have been working with Forever Green researchers to explore additional licensing opportunities in the cover crop space.