CROPS OF THE PAST — AND THE FUTURE
Today common conventional farming practices revolve around a single crop planted and replaced season after season, year after year. This type of monoculture based farming of annual crops places a heavy toll on our soil and water resources. Perennial crops such as fruit trees, and a handful of vegetables including asparagus, rhubarb, and sunchokes regenerate themselves each year. Perennial crops establish long roots that are efficient at capturing groundwater, prevent soil erosion, and promote biodiversity in the soil.
Many believe perennial crops are a way to sustainably feed the world. Food forests focused on perennial farming are popping up in urban areas across the country and providing free food to urban dwellers. Researchers are discovering food forests that have fed communities from around the world for centuries, including a 2,000 year old food forest located on a Moroccan oasis that grows dates, bananas, olives, figs, pomegranates, guavas, citrus, mulberries, tamarinds, carobs, quince, and grapes. Groups like the Land Institute and University of Georgia Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory believe global food security can be improved with perennial farming and are doing invaluable work to develop perennial grains that will provide high yields and nutritional benefits.
Learn more about the benefits of perennial farming!