Skip to main content

From dish to podium – it’s about a lot more than just sports in Rio

Brazil is not only home to the world’s best beach volleyball team but also the planet’s greatest plant biodiversity, representing around 15 to 20% of the total number of species on Earth. Much of these plants are edible and nutritious, yet neglected, but we hope that the tide will turn as they step into the limelight at Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Games.

Authors: Lidio Coradin, national director of the ‘Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition’ Project in Brazil and Camila Oliveira, Environmental Analyst, Ministry of the Environment in Brazil and also national manager of the ‘Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition’ Project in Brazil

Brazil is not only home to the world’s best beach volleyball team but also the planet’s greatest plant biodiversity, representing around 15 to 20% of the total number of species on Earth. Much of these plants are edible and nutritious, yet neglected, but we hope that the tide will turn as they step into the limelight at Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Games.

Data about the nutritional properties of native edible species is scarce and, to date, there are no comprehensive online food composition databases available in Brazil. In order to increase the knowledge base about Brazilian biodiversity and provide evidence for the inclusion of native species in public policies related to food and nutrition security, the ‘Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition’ Project (BFN) has been conducting nutritional analyses of 70 edible plant species.

Taking advantage of last week’s opening of the Rio 2016 Olympics and in line with the goals of the Nutrition for Growth Summit (N4G), BFN Brazil is eager to seize opportunities to promote biodiversity and healthy foods and join the #Nutrition4Gold action on the ground.

BFN has been collaborating with the ‘Rio Food Vision’ and ‘Rio Sustainable Food’ initiatives which spawned many opportunities including the project’s involvement in ‘From Dish to Podium’. ‘Rio Alimentação Sustentável’s’ (‘Rio Sustainable Food’) Do Prato ao Pódio video explains the work that is being done to promote healthy and sustainable food chains in Brazil and features Olympic athletes, chefs, an Olympic nutritionist and Marcos Palmeira – who is not only a well-known Brazilian actor but also an organic farmer.

From the 12th to 14th August, in partnership with the Rio Alimentação Sustentável initiative, the Praça do Ó and Largo do Machado street markets will allow the many thousands of visitors and locals to enjoy the best and healthiest products from family farms while promoting local biodiversity.

Finally, in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development (MDS) and SEDR/MMA (Ministry of Environment), BFN Brazil is also participating in the organization of the ‘Feira Povos e Biodiversidade do Brasil’ (Market on Brazil's Biodiversity and Traditional Peoples) from 17 to 21 August in Pier Mauá and the Botanical Garden in Rio de Janeiro which involved a public call and the selection of over 30 producers to be part of the market.

Learn more about BFN’s activities in Brazil and elsewhere

Photo: Brazilian woman with a handful of nutritious mangaba fruit. Credit: MMA/J. Vital Souto

Back