‘Ello loves! I’m taking the night off in order to let Dan Grifen steal the Everythingtarian spotlight to bring to us some information on a food topic we don’t often hear about – biodiversity. We hear so much about eating local foods that this point of view – one that encourages buying and tasting new, often more exotic crops – is one I found extremely interesting. If you read on, you’ll perhaps just maybe if you’re lucky also find a giveaway at the end…
Grocery Variety and Sustainability Go Hand-in-Hand
“In other environmental issues we tell people to stop something,
reduce their impact, reduce their damage,”
– U.S. Ecologist Gary Nabhan
Since the beginning of the green movement, there has been a rise in the number of organizations and businesses that are doing their part in the promotion of sustainability through conservation. As human beings, we’re told to reduce our carbon footprint, consume less unhealthy foods, and spend less time in the shower! But let’s take a minute to step back and look at this from a different perspective; one that Gary Nabhan strongly suggests.
Gary Paul Nabhan, PhD., is a Arab-American writer/conservationist whose extensive farming work in the U.S./Mexico borderlands region has made him world-renowned. Nabhan is known for his work in biodiversity as an ethnobotanist. His uplifting messages and attitude towards life and culture has granted us access to multiple beneficial theories including his latest: eat what you conserve.
According to The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, about three-quarters of the genetic diversity of crops have been vanishing over the last century and currently, a dozen species now provide 90% of the animal protein eaten globally. In accordance, just four crop species supply half of plant-based calories in the human diet.
Nabhan claims that by eating the fruits and vegetables that we are attempting to conserve/save, we’re promoting the granular dissemination of various plant species. But this goes beyond what we typically buy in supermarkets, particularly because of price and abundance. We must remember to try new things and immerse ourselves in the very concept of diversity. Keep in mind the benefits of splurging for that costly fruit/vegetable supremely outweigh the cons. Not only are you promoting biodiversity and further eliminating the needs of farmers to remove rare, less purchased crops off their agenda, but you’re also effectively encouraging healthier lifestyles.
Agriculturist Marco Contiero mentioned, “Biodiversity is an essential characteristic of any sustainable agricultural system, especially in the context of climate change.” With sustainable crop efforts being lead by the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the duo plans to provide a more sustainable crops that can withstand natural disasters, thus avoiding food shortages like Haiti is experiencing. Contiero goes on to state, “We need to ensure this is the basis for the future,” which is exactly what Doug Band, the CGI and the IRRI are doing by engaging in sustainability efforts.
So remember, next time you’re in the supermarket picking out a common varietal of navel oranges or strawberries, turn your attention to something that’s a bit more exotic in nature. The same goes for salads/salad ingredients; shop outside the norm, picking spices and vegetables that you wouldn’t normally incorporate into your everyday diet. During such an economic downtime, it isn’t always easy to maintain the same level of grocery shopping intrigue, but we must also not forget that in this sundry of foods we can find fun!
Dan Grifen – Supporter of all things green and progressive
Interesting stuff, no?
There are so many ways to look at, analyze and view food in our big wide world, it is truly incredible. We can’t forget how food affects the very farmers who grow these crops or the effect it has on our body – like perhaps, our brain?
Earlier this year, I was asked to contribute to Posit Science’s ThinkFood Cookbook – a diverse collection of recipes from some of the web’s top food bloggers featuring specifically chosen ingredients (tomatoes! eggs! curry powder!) proven to fuel and sharpen the mind.
If you win, not only will you possess my recipe for Sundried Tomato, Spinach and Goat Cheese Mini Quiches in your very own hands…
So, what do you have to do to win the cookbook? In accordance with Dan’s informative guest post, just leave me a comment and answer me this question:
What is the most exotic fruit or vegetable you’ve ever eaten?
I will announce the winner Sunday night.
Peace, love and sustainable eating.