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

Bob Quinn and Liz Carlisle


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 Ph.D. 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.

Bob Quinn is a previous speaker at Acres U.S.A. conferences.

Copyright 2019, Hardback, 288 pages

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

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Doug G.
United States United States

Good read about a great journey

My interest is mainly livestock. This book was a great read about Regenerative Ag from a cropland perspective. Picked up some ideas on how to improve our operation.

Karen T.
United States United States

Very informative so far

I've not gotten through the entire book however, what I have read so far is very informative. I am enjoying the read.

Janet N.
United States United States

Grain by Grain

Loved reading the book ... lots of good information about what is happening to our food chain ...

United States United States


Usually I write long winded reviews but I couldn't agree more with Michael Ms' succinct assessment: This book is absolutely "enlightening" and it was emphatically so for me as well. If I were to add any more descriptors they would be very 'educational' and a FUN read with many enjoyable, even a couple of 'moving' stories. The "Cowboy in Europe" was very entertaining but the strides he has made in pioneering the growing of ancient grain and then personally, and with the help of grain loving Italian researchers, (he is a trained researcher too) going about proving with studies that they are superior in every way to our crappy, genetically engineered junk grain was very EXCITING! Then the experiments with dryland vegetable gardening was (there's that word again) enlightening, serendipitous and very educational! Bob Quinn has, by the strength of his own will, strong reliance upon the one God and his native intelligence brought many amazing things & companies into existence within the Organic rubric, thus greatly advancing the health & well being of many people, both local to him and far flung. Great read! I took many useful lessons from this very well written book. My only regret is that I can never read it for the first time again...! But in 6 mos. to a year, I will definitely read it once more and I am sure there will be many more great things to pick up on a second read! Highly recommended!

Michael M.
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Grain to Grain review

A superb book, well written, one of the most enlightening books on agriculture I have read.

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