Forever Green

De-Risking Supply-Chains for Forever Green Crops

Company Background
The Forever Green Partnership (FGP) is a public/private/non-profit partnership, convened by the University of Minnesota. The FGP is developing and commercializing a set of crops (“Forever Green” crops) that provide a market-driven pathway to continuous living crop cover in Midwest agriculture. These crops complement summer-annual row crops, such as corn, providing many stewardship benefits, improving the farm productivity, and providing climate solutions. The FGP crop portfolio includes more than 15 crops, including intermediate wheatgrass (Kernza®), winter camelina, pennycress, and hybrid hazelnut. FGP is now collaborating to commercialize these crops, aiming to improve sustainability of Midwest agriculture.

Open Innovation Challenge 
FGP seeks partners at all stages in crop supply chains to collaborate in developing and testing Innovative risk-sharing and contracting methods for Forever Green crops. These methods are inherently complex. Design and testing requires expertise spanning supply chains, and collaborative implementation testing on small scales. Innovative risk-sharing and contracting methods are critically needed to enable piloting and de-risking.

Reason for Seeking External Innovation Partnership
The FGP is attempting to develop efficient and effective strategies for de-risking supply-chain development for Forever Green crops. Commercialization critically depends on coordinated development of supply and demand for these crops. To achieve this, supply chains must be developed linking on-farm production, harvest, storage, processing, and end-use production. Risk occurs across supply chains and requires coordinated management during piloting and de-risking stages.

Currently, FGP is working with several firms on initial piloting and de-risking, including major CPG companies and supply chain intermediaries. To accelerate development of markets and supply chains, we are now seeking additional innovation partners.

Scope of Solution Space

  • Development of methods for characterizing risk and rewards from supply-chain development for Forever Green crops, in terms of commercial opportunities and public goods, and in terms of economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainability.
  • Development of strategic and right-sized risk-sharing agreements, among multiple public- and private-sector actors, in terms of structure and enforcement of such agreements. Industry partners have informed us that these de-risking strategies will be a critical component of the bridge to successful commercialization.
  • Development of contracting arrangements that enable investments in supply chains for Forever Green crops by a range of investors, including supply-chain firms, impact investors and others.
  • Development of business and governance structures for Forever Green crops that ensure efficient and reliable supply from growers and industry partners, operating within governance structures that articulate, hold all parties accountable to, and deliver on a “triple bottom line” sustainability value proposition.

Innovation Solutions Not of Interest

  • Open to all possible approaches

Proposal Response Date Deadline
August 28, 2020

Website Link and

Contact Information

The Forever Green Initiative at the University of Minnesota is positioned to develop these new winter annual and perennial crops, as well as the associated efficient farming systems that improve water quality and manage water quantity while bolstering the rural and agricultural economy with high-value, commercially marketable products.