Statement about 56 Brewing

Green Lands Blue Waters works closely with research, market development, and outreach partners on the new crop, Kernza®, which is championed by a range of stakeholders — from growers, researchers, practitioners, and legislators to bakers, chefs, and brewers. It requires a visionary community of many partners to take a new crop from the research lab out to the fields and eventually onto your plate. These partners need to trust one another through a shared set of values.

As such, we strongly condemn racist incidents like the one described over social media involving Minneapolis-based Kernza community partner, 56 Brewing and co-owner Kale Johnson. We do not know the details of this particular incident or the nuances of 56 Brewing’s internal environment that fostered such a charge. But we commend the actions taken as of the date of this posting of Kale Johnson’s resignation and 56 Brewing’s claim to be restructuring ownership. We will be monitoring this situation and strongly urge 56 Brewing to engage partners in open, honest dialogue and take additional, clear actions of reparation and ongoing, anti-racist improvement.



The world has seen on video how George Floyd was brutally murdered. I write to you from my home in Minneapolis on the same block as East Lake Street, the epicenter of where protests initially erupted before spreading around the globe. Spray painted across a clinic around the block was this common sentiment:

Justice for George Floyd.
But don’t burn down this clinic!

May every one of us hear what needs to be heard.
May we see it, feel it, and work to change what needs to be changed.

I invite you today to pause. Breathe in, breathe out.


In this historic moment of respiratory pandemic, this historic moment of racial reckoning underscored by the words “I can’t breathe,” be grateful for the simple, primary act of breathing in and out.

If you have not already, set a timer for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Pause, breathe, reflect.

We do good work at GLBW. Every one of you in our network does incredible work. And we need to do better. We need now, with renewed conviction, to open our eyes to the cavernous blind spots we’ve hummed busily along avoiding in the fields of agriculture and conservation. Our collective work needs critical examination of our roles in perpetuating systemic racism. We need a new wholeness.

We too are pausing. We look forward to opening our eyes and hearts with you to create the world we want to see.

A resource we can share now is Ricardo Salvador’s presentation at our 2019 conference – Toward a resilient agriculture. The Vision is Easy: Are “We” Willing? – on the historical racism and injustice that is woven into our current agriculture and food system – available here.

Aaron Reser
Green Lands Blue Waters Associate Director

  • Green Lands Blue Waters is a vision for profitable agriculture based on keeping the soil covered productively year-round: farming with Continuous Living Cover.

Landscape Scale Change –
A Networked Approach

Green Lands Blue Waters and partners are conducting essential research, improving the genetics of old and new crops, translating knowledge into Continuous Living Cover farming systems, developing new extension and outreach capacity, working in farm fields, shaping policy, building profitable markets for new crops, and changing the narrative around what’s possible through agriculture. The value of Continuous Living Cover farming comes in yields and profits, but also in improved soil health, cleaner water, new economic opportunities, more wildlife, reduced risk, and resiliency in the face of a changing climate.

Farming with Continuous Living Cover is about meeting the multiple challenges of agricultural production and environmental quality.

The year-round ground cover and long-lived roots of the crops we promote help to build soil health, recycle nutrients, provide system-wide resilience in the face of a changing climate, sequester carbon, and reduce agricultural pollution of surface and ground water – while continuing to produce food and other farm products.