Why beans? For people and the planet

“The possibilities for positive change in our food systems are endless! With focused and coordinated action we have the potential to create a more sustainable, resilient planet that provides good food for all.” See: Good Food for Allhttps://www.goodfood4all.org/

“Unfortunately, as cost, conflict, COVID, and climate continue to negatively impact the rates of hunger and malnutrition, alongside obesity rates and other diet-related illnesses, the disruption to the global food supply chains has been widespread.

To build a safer, healthier food future, agricultural scientists, nutritionists [registered dietitian nutritionists or RDNs], and key leaders are in agreement that beans are an optimal food choice for both people and the planet, and can assist in driving transformative change. Eating beans is an affordable, accessible solution to the world’s growing health and climate challenges.”

Beans are an excellent source of fiber, iron, folate, calcium, protein, and more… When paired with carbohydrates they can provide all the essential amino acids. Whether canned, fresh, or dried, beans can help us meet our daily nutritional needs and move way from high fat, sugar, and salt consumption that is common in many diets. With regards to their environmental impact, beans are known to produce nitrogen on their own which reduces the need for fertilizers and means they can be grown in nutrient-poor soils…

Farmers will need to consider infrastructure such as storage and drying, which is often a key hurdle, as well as financing for new kinds of machinery. They will grow what has a market but there are still many barriers to entry that may slow or prohibit them from growing beans at scale. A better understanding of current production patterns and supply chains is necessary before promoting changes. For example, ensuring that local and Indigenous varieties are freely available for farmers is crucial to ensuring biodiversity and soil health maintenance.

To protect farmers, stakeholders have come together to support a new consensus that highlights the policy priorities of small-scale food producers. This consensus was created with farmers and details 8 calls to action items that will promote better livelihoods and environmental resilience.” You can read the consensus statement titled, “New Consensus with Small-Scale Food Producers: Prioritizing smallholders’ nutrition and livelihoods,” here:


“Around the world, beans play an important cultural and nutritional role in many people’s lives. Now is the time to rally around these incredible ingredients which possess the power to address multiple challenges and propel us into a healthier future.” To learn how to grow, store, and cook a variety of beans, see the book by Susan Young titled, “Growing Beans: A Diet for Healthy People and The Planet” (2022) (see book cover below). For more information on this book, go to: https://shop.permaculture.co.uk/growing-beans.html

Finally, see the URL below for an easy recipe for Spicy Black Bean Soup from Eating Well:


Source: The Chefs’ Manifesto. Beans is how. July 20, 2022. Available at: https://sdg2advocacyhub.org/news/beans-how

Published by greengrass50

My name is Christine McCullum-Gomez, PhD, RDN. I am a registered dietitian nutritionist with expertise in environmental nutrition, food and nutrition policy, food and nutrition security, food justice, chronic disease prevention, regenerative & organic agriculture, and sustainable healthy dietary patterns. Currently, I serve on the Editorial Review Board and as a Column Editor for the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition. I live in Bogota, Colombia with my husband, two teenagers (boy-girl twins), and our dog Honey. My website is: www.sustainablerdn.com. You can follow me on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/cmccullumgomez/

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