Living in Ames, Iowa, Steven Cannon is no stranger to the Midwestern potluck. Instead of a potato-chip-capped casserole, however, Cannon serves up “potato beans” fried in duck fat or simmered in south Indian spices. Either way, he says the smooth-textured starch, hinting of boiled peanut flavor, is always a hit.
Currently, only 30 crops provide 95 percent of calories consumed worldwide, yet some 7,000 plant species have been used as food crops throughout history. Variously called orphan, neglected or underutilized species, these potential crops have an added bonus — they are often climate hardy.
“In addition to breeding more robust varieties of corn, soybean and wheat, we should also domesticate species already adapted for extremes,” Cannon told a crowd at the International Plant and Animal Genome conference in San Diego in January.
The Climate Central article argues that the effect chefs have on popular food culture is immense and that they are the ones who will create a demand for new foods and an incentive for farmers to plant them.