February 10 is World Pulses Day! To celebrate, SPI is partnering with A Well Fed World to launch the Planetary Pulse Project. This project aims to share the benefits of growing pulses and distribute seed of amazing pulse crops to interested partners.
Pulses are the edible seeds of legume plants and include dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas, lentils, cowpeas, etc. Pulses are highly nutritious and are packed with protein, fiber, and essential micronutrients such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and folate. Studies suggest that legume-rich diets can decrease cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The dry pulse seeds can also be stored for extended periods making for a quality food source that does not go bad easily.
Legume plants also benefit the environment in which they are planted. Legume plants are nitrogen-fixers, which means they can remove nitrogen from the atmosphere and add nitrogen to the soil. Legumes do this by forming a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia bacteria on their root nodules. These bacteria convert atmospheric N2 into ammonia NH3, which is bioavailable to plants. This process can reduce reliance on nitrogen fertilizers and improve soil health. Legume plants also require less water than other typical sources of protein and are a more sustainable source of protein due to fewer resource needs.
At the United Nations most recent conference on climate, COP27, an international cohort of environmental and food security organizations, along with chefs and bean producers launched the initiative Beans Is How, “A campaign to fix the future by doubling global bean consumption by 2028.” The alliance advocates beans as the most sustainable and affordable way to reduce malnutrition and hunger globally.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) designated 2016 as the International Year of Pulses to raise awareness about the role pulses can play in improving nutrition, food security, and environment. We are excited to join the effort! Check out the FAO graphic below to learn more about the benefits of pulses.
If you have a school or community garden or run a program that grows food to improve food security and are interested in participating in the Planetary Pulse Project, then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your project.