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Our Team

Humans of The Land Institute

The Land Institute houses the foundational program for Kernza® perennial grain development and stewards the Kernza® commercialization effort. We also provide leadership to an international consortium of research partners in plant breeding, agronomy, ecology and social sciences. The people who make this critical work possible are highlighted below.

Rachel Stroer

Rachel became Acting President of The Land Institute on July 1, 2020 and was chosen by the board as President on April 1, 2021. In over five years at The Land, Rachel also served as Chief Operating Officer under both Wes Jackson and Fred Iutzi and then as Chief Strategy Officer, where she provided the vision and guidance needed to follow nature’s example from wild relative to domesticated perennial grain. She has an MBA from the Bloch School of Management and lives in Austin, Texas.

About Rachel

Tim Crews
Director of Ecological Intensification

Tim is the Director of Ecological Intensification of The Land Institute. He conducts research and helps to coordinate an international network of researchers also focused on ecological intensification.

About Tim

Lee DeHaan
Lead Scientist, Kernza® Domestication Program

Lee leads the effort to develop intermediate wheatgrass as a perennial grain, Kernza®. He has a PhD in Agronomy and Applied Plant Science from the University of Minnesota and lives in Kansas.

About Lee

Tessa Peters
Director of Crop Stewardship

Tessa Peters leads the Crop Stewardship program for Kernza® and other crops at The Land Institute. She has a PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lives in Wyoming.

About Tessa

Marty Christians
Research Technician, Kernza®

Marty is the research and breeding technician for the Kernza® Domestication Program. He lives in Kansas.

About Marty

Sophia Skelly

Sophia Skelly
Research Technician, Crop Stewardship

Sophia is a technician with the Crop Stewardship team. She is located in Minneapolis, MN but enjoys her frequent visits to the Smoky Hills.

About Sophia