A few interesting facts around food diversity from a report released by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):
- There are around 30,000 edible plants growing on the planet today, however humans on average only eat about a dozen.
- As humans we require between fifty and hundred different chemical compounds and elements to be healthy. Only a very small percentage can be found in animal products with the vast majority to be found within the roots, shoots and leaves of the thousands of consumable plants that grow around the world. A diet that disregards diversity does so at the detriment of our health.
- Only around fifty crops deliver 90% of the world’s calories whereas less than a century ago several thousand plants would have done so. Today the emphasis by commercial agricultural is on the big four – wheat, corn, soybean and sunflower which is cheap and easily reformulated, packaged and often sold for profit with scant regard for our health and wellbeing.