Current discussions on food systems emphasize the urgent need to embed resilience and 'build back better' for a healthier and more sustainable planet. This week, as attention is given to the role of biodiversity in this transformation, a newly published book offers examples of how the many species and varieties around us can be leveraged to improve food, health, livelihoods, and ecosystem services:
- In Brazil: National school feeding policies include Amazonian fruits on lunch trays and textbook covers after their high vitamin content was documented by regional universities and research centers.
- In Kenya: Smallholder farmer groups grow African leafy vegetables and sell them directly to schools, improving local livelihoods and child nutrition, especially in times of harsh weather and food shortage.
- In Sri Lanka: Women become their families’ primary earners through 'True Sri Lankan Taste' food businesses that utilize traditional varieties of grains, pulses, fruits, vegetables, and tubers.
- In Turkey: nearly a million visitors flock to an annual herb festival to learn about foraging and cooking Aegean wild edible plants, a nutritious part of local cuisine and culture as well as an opportunity for niche marketing.