Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food

Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food

by Bob Quinn, Liz Carlisle


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"A compelling agricultural story skillfully told; environmentalists will eat it up." - Kirkus Reviews

When Bob Quinn was a kid, a stranger at a county fair gave him a few kernels of an unusual grain. Little did he know, that grain would change his life. Years later, after finishing a PhD in plant biochemistry and returning to his family’s farm in Montana, Bob started experimenting with organic wheat. In the beginning, his concern wasn’t health or the environment; he just wanted to make a decent living and some chance encounters led him to organics.

But as demand for organics grew, so too did Bob’s experiments. He discovered that through time-tested practices like cover cropping and crop rotation, he could produce successful yields—without pesticides. Regenerative organic farming allowed him to grow fruits and vegetables in cold, dry Montana, providing a source of local produce to families in his hometown. He even started producing his own renewable energy. And he learned that the grain he first tasted at the fair was actually a type of ancient wheat, one that was proven to lower inflammation rather than worsening it, as modern wheat does.

Ultimately, Bob’s forays with organics turned into a multimillion dollar heirloom grain company, Kamut International. In Grain by Grain, Quinn and cowriter Liz Carlisle, author of Lentil Underground, show how his story can become the story of American agriculture. We don’t have to accept stagnating rural communities, degraded soil, or poor health. By following Bob’s example, we can grow a healthy future, grain by grain.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610919951
Publisher: Island Press
Publication date: 03/05/2019
Edition description: None
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 117,355
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Bob Quinn is an organic farmer near Big Sandy, Montana, and a leading green businessman. He served on the first National Organic Standards Board, and has been recognized with the Montana Organic Association Lifetime of Service Award, The Organic Trade Association Organic Leadership Award, and Rodale Institute’s Organic Pioneer Award. His enterprises include the ancient grain business Kamut International and Montana’s first wind farm.

Liz Carlisle is a Lecturer in the School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University. Her first book, Lentil Underground, won the Montana Book Award and the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature.

Table of Contents

Prologue by Liz Carlisle                                                                                             
Introduction: Food on the Cheap                                                                                                      

Chapter 1. Roots and Growth                                                                        
Chapter 2. Better Farming through Chemistry?
Chapter 3. Beyond Commodities                                                                                        
Chapter 4. Going Organic                                                                                                       
Chapter 5. King Tut’s Wheat                                      
Chapter 6. Growing Partners                                                                                                     
Chapter 7. A Cowboy in Europe                                                                                             
Chapter 8. Creating a New Standard                                                                                      
Chapter 9. The Value of Limits                                                                                               
Chapter 10. Taste of Place                                                                                                     
Chapter 11. Recycling Energy                                                                                     
Chapter 12. Bringing Rural Jobs Back                                                                                    
Chapter 13. The Gluten Mystery                                                                                              
Chapter 14. Food as Medicine                                                                                    
Chapter 15. One Great Subject                                                                                   
Chapter 16. Rejecting the Status Quo                                                 
Chapter 17. Conclusion: A New Generation of Growers and Eaters                         

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