How Our Food Choices Impact The Environment
In general, humans are creatures of habit and our food choices reflect that. As a case in point, just 3 foods - wheat, rice, and maize - comprise 60% of our plant-based intake. Why does it matter if we depend on a small assortment of staple foods? Because the way our food is grown has a significant influence on our environment and on our global food supply. In order to meet the demand for the narrow range of foods that people are eating farmers plant the same crops over and over - a practice called monoculture farming.
Similar to the way your body needs a range of different foods for optimal nutrition, land is healthiest when it grows a variety of foods. Monoculture farming can deplete nutrients from the soil, which threatens the growth of those foods we depend so heavily upon. Adding some of these delicious, nutritious foods to your plate is a small change that can have a big impact!
Practice Plant Power Approximately 60% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to the production of animal products. Try swapping in beans and pulses, such as black turtle beans and lentils, in place of meat in stew or casserole recipes.
Go Grain There is an incredibly diverse range of grains beyond rice and wheat! Try gluten-free, high-protein buckwheat cooked with milk and fruit for a warm, filling breakfast or use nutty-tasting amaranth for an ancient grain spin on your next risotto.
Vary Your Veggies Did you know we have discovered over 20,000 edible plants, but we only consume 150 to 200 on a regular basis? Let’s catch up! Trade your usual tomato for a sweeter and less acidic orange tomato or use vitamin-rich beet greens in your next sauté or salad.
United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2015). World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, Key Findings and Advance Tables. Working Paper No. ESA/P/WP.241
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. What is agrobiodiversity? Fact sheet [in English]. [ONLINE] Available at: http:/www.fao.org/docrep/007/y5609e/y5609e01.htm#bm1 [Last accessed November 2018]. FAOSTAT data available at: http:/www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QC[Last accessed November 2018]