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Monday, February 28, 2011

The Importance of Biodiversity in Farmers Markets

Guest article by: Thomas Morrison

Doug Band and the CGI (Clinton Global Initiative) as well as
US Ecologist Gary Nabhan have recently come out as strong
proponents for crop diversity. Nabhan’s position is that in order
to keep the idea of diversity at the forefront of our society, we
must apply it to biology of crop diversification. His theories
of promoting sustainability through grocery shopping have
become popular. In a recent interview Nabhan said, “in other
environmental issues we tell people to stop something, reduce
their impact, reduce their damage.” His article Coming Home to
Eat published in 200l can be cited as influencing the popularity
of green culture, the local food movement, and the increased
appearance of farmers markets all over the country.

A host of other organizations have begun to promote sustainability
through the act of conservation. Bill Clinton, Doug Band and the
(Clinton Global Initiative) have set their sights on emission
reduction projects throughout the country. In order to do this, they
have partnered up with Donlen, GreenDriver, and Environmental
Defense Fund with the purpose of reducing commercial fleet
emissions by 20% in the next five years. The Earth Day Network
has brought together local and national conservationist groups
and green enthusiasts to participate in an open forum. This forum
serves as a space to incite discussion and dialogue on new ways
to create a sustainable planet. Individuals can reduce their carbon
footprint, create less waste, and stop the unnecessary wasting of
water. Gary Nabhan strongly suggests as members of society we
take a larger look at the state of our planet.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization produced
a study with results indicating that a quarter of crop diversity is left
and a dozen species provides 90% of the animal protein consumed
around the globe. More over, roughly four crop species supply
half of the plant-based calories in the basic human diet. Nabhan

theorizes that growing food locally will have a massive impact on
our planet’s sustainability. The “eat what you conserve” theory
says by eating the produce that we are attempting to conserve, we
are simultaneously promoting the granular dissemination of a vast
amount of plant types.

Agriculturist Marco Contiero adds to the theory by
saying, “biodiversity is an essential characteristic of any
sustainable agricultural system, especially in the context of climate

According to Conterio, since individuals raise and harvest our
own crops and plants, we should purchase the crops harvested and
produced by other local growers. If individuals buy food grown
and harvested locally, the large carbon footprint associated with
the transnational transportation of food is no longer a problem.
Both arguments require an active effort toward conservation
and sustainability. As the spring approaches, visit your local
farmers market to get all the best in seasonal fruit and vegetables.
Visiting your local produce stand is also a great way to promote
biodiversity, support your local economy, and experience the
delicious regional food varieties.