You probably know fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet, but do you know what specific nutrients they hold? If you were asked to prepare a nutritionally balanced meal using plants grown in your area, could you?
For the vast majority of people, the answer to both of those questions is no, and a few decades ago, agricultural scientist Bruce French was one of them. Now, he is the person behind a database with nutritional information on more than 31,000 plants grown all over the world.
Bruce was teaching agriculture to students in Papua New Guinea when he realized he didn’t have much knowledge on plants that were native to that specific area. So, he started researching. Then, he moved on to the next country, then the next, and the next.
Through this research, he realized that many people all over the world don’t have a strong understanding of the nutritional resources they have that are native to their area. Not only that, but malnutrition was a rising problem, and Bruce knew if people had access to this knowledge, it could help fight malnutrition. That’s when he created Food Plants International.
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Food Plants International is a database that allows people in countries like Cambodia, Nigeria, Zambia, Fiji, and more, look up the types of plants that are native to their area and learn about their nutritional value and how to grow them. Since the organization was established in 1999, it has grown to include more than 31,000 plants.
Bruce’s efforts have helped people all over the world learn more about the nutrition of plants, some of which may even grow right next door! His organization continues to research and add more information to the database in an effort to fight malnutrition.
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