It was good to read this weekend in the Land Institute’s The Land Report that they’re now working hard to develop perennial rice varieties (in addition to their well-known perennial prairie polyculture experiment, which could transform large parts of the American plains back into a wildscape that produces lots of food).
Because agriculture is technically the world’s largest ecosystem, moving it toward a perennially-cropped system will have major impacts on soil health/soil building, biodiversity, energy use, and possibly carbon sequestration.
Rice is the second most important cereal crop in the world; developing a variety that does not require annual plowing, planting, flooding, etc. would increase food security thoughout Latin America and Asia. Researchers working with the Land Institute in Yunnan Province in southern China are now isolating and developing a variety that forms rhizomes, from which a rice plant could perennially sprout. Hopeful news.