Are we losing important biodiversity in our food?

Urban garden 1I’ve been a backyard organic gardener for the better part of fifteen years. Each year I learn and grow more while experimenting with a wider variety of types of veggies. It’s a lot of fun and definitely helps keep my food budget down.

I came across an interesting article called 15 Indigenous Vegetables that are Nutritious and Delicious and was surprised at how many of these I’d never heard of before. I’m always looking to find new things to grow in my garden and the idea of trying something both incredibly nutritious and different definitely captures my imagination.

Further research took me to a site I wasn’t familiar with – Food Tank. This site helps raise awareness about global food system issues as well as “highlighting how hunger, obesity, climate change, unemployment, and other problems can be solved by more research and investment in agriculture.”

Urban garden 2The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that approximately 75 percent of the Earth’s plant genetic resources are now extinct. Another third of plant biodiversity is expected to disappear by 2050.  As more people turn to backyard gardening – whether with containers, raised beds, via window farms, vertical gardening or the traditional dirt method, it behoves us all to expand our veggie repertoire. It’s good for our health and for the planet.

Here’s a fascinating video on plant biodiversity. I was struck by the fact that there are actually thousands of types of potatoes! I can only think of 6 or 7 varieties.

Something to think about as you plan for next year’s garden.

To find unusual varieties of non-GMO veggies, check out trusted sites such as Seed Savers, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and others. You’ll enjoy some surprising flavors and make some new favorites.

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