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Food Plant Solutions

Food Plant Solutions Rotary Action Group was formed to address hunger, malnutrition and food security, which is an ever increasing issue.  By “unlocking” information on local foods, immense food resources can be made available and in the process:

  • children who would otherwise die due to malnutrition will have a chance to live and thrive

  • children who would otherwise be blind due to lack of vitamin A, may see clearly

  • food security can be significantly enhanced

  • costly food imports can be reduced

  • nutritionally related diseases that impair growth, cause physical and intellectual disability and reduce quality of life can be reduced or eliminated

  • communities have the opportunity to prosper rather than just surviving

 

By identifying a range of highly nutritious local food plants with differing seasonal requirements and maturities, it is possible to establish a continuous, nutritious and sustainable food supply.  Local food plants are important because they are adapted to their environment, have sound nutritional density, a natural resistance to pest and disease and profound economic benefits for the local community. 

If the plants with the highest levels of nutrients, typically missing from the diet, are identified and cultivated, then hunger, malnutrition and food security is sustainably addressed.

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Food Plant Solutions was formed in 2007 by the Rotary Club of Devonport North and Rotary District 9830, to help create awareness of this solution and encourage its application. 

The source of information is the Edible Plants of the World database, created by Tasmanian agricultural scientist, Bruce French, AO.  The database contains information on over 33,600 edible plants, for all countries and is the most comprehensive collation of information on food plants ever developed.  

 

Food Plant Solutions are specialists at extracting information from this database and creating science-based materials in a range of easy-to-understand formats. 

The materials: 

  • identify highly nutritious local food plants,

  • explain how to grow them in a sustainable, agroecological way,

  • detail their nutritional value of the plants and

  • describe why human bodies require those nutrients.

 

Partnerships are formed with existing in-country providers who utilise FPS materials to empower people, particularly women, which allows them to make informed choices about what foods to grow and eat, which will nutritionally satisfy themselves and their families.  Very few people understand the nutritional value of the food they consume, nor do they understand that feeling full does not necessarily mean you are nutritionally satisfied.

 

The Food Plants Solution’s approach is sustainable, empowering and cost-effective, bringing together education, agricultural practices, nutrition and health, treating them as one topic.

 

It is a proven approach: 

  • that will achieve a diverse nutritious diet

  • utilises local, well-adapted, food plants

  • promotes agroecological methods

  • is sustainable

  • enhances food security and

  • helps to mitigate climate change

 

With agroecological practices, agroecosystems are protected, restored and improved, and economic and social benefits accrue to the individual, community, region and country.  The project intentionally focuses on one aspect of a community’s unique natural heritage – its local food plants.  Food sovereignty is very important and should be celebrated.  

 

Results from one program partner have seen malnutrition being reduced by between 40-95% in one year, in children.  This sort of result is life changing for these children, their families and longer term, for their communities and country.  All children deserve the right to not just survive, but to thrive.