On Saturday 19th March we held our most recent combined trading event for the Wynyard, Burnie and Devonport sub-branches. Our special guest presenter was Bruce French from Food Plants International who spoke about the benefits of recognising Food Plants from all over the world and the power they give back to communities – particularly those who have been, in many cases, wrongly convinced to grow monoculture crop that is not suited to the growing or living conditions of the area.
Food Plants International was formally established in 1999, but its origins go back to the 1970’s. Bruce French, founder of FPI, was living in Papua New Guinea at the time and noticed that many villagers suffered disease and malnutrition, often while surrounded by nutritious food plants.
It wasn’t that they didn’t know anything about their local plants, but there were clearly a lot more edible plants than were readily recognised. Also, there was very little nutritional information available about the plants. Bruce also observed that most of the information taught in agricultural colleges related to temperate plants commonly produced in Western agriculture.
From these humble beginnings, Bruce set out to document the food plants of Papua New Guinea, an effort that soon spread to include the entire world of food plants.
The people who make up FPI are based in Tasmania, Australia. We are all volunteers who wish to make a difference to the three billion people of the world whose most important concern each day is having enough nutritious food to eat.