Saturday, October 16, 2004

Happy World Food Day!

(thanks for the food museum blog for the head's up)

And biodiveristy is the theme. First, didja know ... ?
People depend on just 14 mammal and bird species for 90 percent of their food supply from animals. And just four species - wheat, maize, rice and potato - provide half of our energy from plants.
or that ...
FAO estimates that about three-quarters of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops have been lost over the last century. And of 6300 animal breeds, 1350 are endangered or already extinct.
I didn't either.

So to celebrate biodiversity, I picked up four foods I've never tried before at the West Side Market: dates, fresh figs, ugli fruit, and green bamboo rice. Stay tuned for my reviews!

But today I make a particular plea for the banana. Bananas aren't endangered, you may scoff. Bananas are ubiquitous, available all year, at every grocery store. And yet one day when I was in the Philippines, my dad and uncle waxed nostalgic about the dozens upon dozens of banana varieties they remembered from their youth now increasingly scarce. Not only are many interesting varieties being lost, but even the familiar, far more common variety of banana, the Cavendish, is being threatened with extinction in ten years ... because of a lack of genetic diversity.

So look for other banana varieties. Try a plantain, for instance. And don't keep bananas in the fridge.

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