Grain by Grain is a story of revival, both for an heirloom-variety of wheat, and for a more regenerative approach to agriculture. It is also a thoughtful critique of the value-extractive model driving our food system, and how it undermines rather than sustains our health and vitality.
Kamut™ is the name of the ancient strain of Khorasan wheat that Quinn trademarked by Bob Quinn in order to cultivate according to both organic and regenerative values on his family’s farm in Montana. Not only has the grain been shown to be significantly more nutritious than other commercial wheat-varieties, it also causes significantly less of the inflammatory-type digestive reactions often mistaken for gluten intolerance by wheat-sensitive people.
After being formally educated in plant biochemistry, Quinn became inspired by organic agriculture in California in the early 1970’s. Soon thereafter, he began to apply both organic and regenerative practices on his family farm in Montana. Over the following decades Quinn explored a variety of “closed-loop” farming solutions designed to generate surplus value for his farm,community, and planet. By selecting seeds for nutrition rather than for yield and fertilizing fields with cover-crops as opposed to chemical fertilizers, Quinn works to nourish both seed and soil with the same holistic level of attention.
One remarkable way Quinn creates the broadest “price to value ratio” on his crop is to set contractual limits on the percentage of land farmers who buy his seed may use to cultivate it in any given season. In this way, he removes the economic incentive to over-cultivate and deplete the land, and instead, encourages associated farmers to allow their fields to regenerate.
“Organic is more than an industry or a bottom line,” writes Quinn, it’s a conversion of outlook. It’s a love for the earth, which we can demonstrate by caring for it. It’s a love for our neighbors, shown by producing healthy, nutritious food. It’s a love for our communities, by recognizing and appreciating the hard work of farmers and all the people working in the food sector by ensuring all receive fair wages to support and raise their families. It’s about human health, community health, and the health of our planet.”