Examples of biocultural resilience in food

I need a place to capture the endless and provocative examples that I am learning about of biocultural business – commerce that builds environmental and social resilience drawing from traditional ecological knowledge.

Stevia is taking the natural foods industry by storm purporting a healthy alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners. Stevia is a small shrub native to the region of South America. The scientific name for stevia is Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni and it is a member of the largest family of plants, Asteraceae which is also called the “sunflower family”. There are 240 close relatives of stevia and they are all herbs or shrubs originating from the tropical and semi-tropical areas. Indigenous Peoples used the leaves of this herb to counteract the bitter taste of the popular drink ‘’mate’ (a tea-like beverage), and also as an herbal remedy for various ailments. Dry stevia leaves are about 40-60 times sweeter than sugar, steviol glycosides extracts are about 300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia leaves contain sweet tasting components called steviol glycosides.

Real Stevia is one company brought to my attention today sourcing from Paraguay and China.

Earlier this month, I watch an inspiring pitch for a start up by Love Grain offering ancient grains for modern diets tapping into the Ethiopian grain teff.  It’s definitely an African superfood. You gotta love being around the start-up energy and determination people like the founders of Love Grain.

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