Food Stories

The man who wants to pull 60,000 Rwandans out of poverty by planting trees

The man who wants to pull 60,000 Rwandans out of poverty by planting trees

Jean Baptiste Mutabaruka is on the road to the local bank, again. When he gets there, he will inquire once more about raising money for an idea he thinks will reduce poverty in his small farming community of 60,000 in the province of Eastern Rwanda. For 10 years, Jean Baptiste has journeyed through the parched villages of the Karangazi Sector, even in soaring heat, to champion the planting of trees, which he sees as a potent antidote to widespread poverty in the region.

According to research conducted by WRI, he is right. Planting and protecting trees would likely lead to increased land productivity, as well as improving food and water security. The Tigray region of Ethiopia halved its poverty level through restoring land over the last 20 years.

How to reduce poverty and re-connect people to nature

How to reduce poverty and re-connect people to nature

Access to food and water — once considered common goods and a basic human right — are increasingly treated as commodities, like precious metals or lumber. Instead of being necessities for life that are available to all, they are being kept from people who cannot afford them.

The perils of this commodification are rife — and sometimes tragically untold — yet several stories have survived.

Locavore Volume One: Seed

Locavore Volume One: Seed

Locavore explores how food is found, grown, prepared and served. We meet foragers, farmers, artisans, teachers and cooks, and learn about their ideas and what motivates them. We discover flavour, variety, method, tradition and ritual.

We look at community projects, networks and campaigns, and investigate the science and effects of modern agriculture and production. We explore food philosophies that put the land, consumer and animal first and contrast these with a globalised food system that homogenises taste and commodifies nature. And we examine food security and sovereignty within a changing climate.

Eating less meat? Meatless butchers and mushroom burgers can help

Eating less meat? Meatless butchers and mushroom burgers can help

From juicy chicken chunks and sausage rolls to bacon and tuna, Dutch butcher Jaap Korteweg offers it all. But there’s a twist: None of the goods on display at his shop in The Hague are made from meat.

Korteweg, a ninth generation farmer, became a vegetarian out of concerns about animal welfare after millions of pigs were slaughtered to contain swine fever in the Netherlands in 1997.

But he missed the taste and texture of meat so much that he got together with scientists and chefs to create plant substitutes that capture both.

Take the Happerley Challenge: only eat what you know for a week

Take the Happerley Challenge: only eat what you know for a week

How easy is it to survive for seven days only consuming food and drink you can trace back to its origin?

The Live Happerley challenge is to eat and drink only food and drink with known origin, back to seed or birth, for a week. It is designed to raise awareness of how little consumers know about where food is from and help drive change for a more transparent and traceable food industry.

In Ecuador’s Northern Highlands, greenhouses to grow roses for export now dominate ancient Inca agricultural fields

In Ecuador’s Northern Highlands, greenhouses to grow roses for export now dominate ancient Inca agricultural fields

Several hundred years ago, pre-Inca and Inca civilizations grew corn, potatoes, beans, quinoa, and squash on raised beds in the verdant Cayambe Valley. Now greenhouses dominate this landscape, and most of them are filled with roses and other cut flowers that will be harvested, packed, and shipped to the United States. Located in Ecuador’s Northern Highlands, the Cayambe Valley has one of the highest densities of greenhouses for rose production in the world.

Wild crops could save chickpeas from being blitzed, scientists say

Wild crops could save chickpeas from being blitzed, scientists say

They are nutritious, versatile and a dietary staple for millions of people from South Asia to Ethiopia, but scientists have warned that the humble chickpea is under threat from climate impacts such as higher temperatures, drought and pests.

The key to saving the chickpea could lie with a project cross-breeding domestic and wild varieties – found only in southeastern Turkey near the border with war-torn Syria – said a study published in the journal Nature Communications.