Newsletters 2015

Bruce’s newsletter serves as a reminder of the current real state of the world and its peoples.

Organisations mentioned: ‘Neglected and Underutilised Species 2015’ in India; ECHO conference in Thailand; CADS in Zimbabwe

Bruce’s discusses the need for good nutritious food for the people of Indonesia.

Places mentioned: Thailand, Kuala Lumpur, Indonesia (Jakarta)

Organisations mentioned: Crops For The Future Research Centre; Bogor Botanic Garden and Herbarium; PROSEA (Plant Resources of South East Asia); UNICEF

Books metioned: 3500 Plant Species of the Botanic Gardens of Indonesia by DJ Sukarya; Food Plants For Healthy Diets In Timor Leste by Bruce French (Rotary publication); Food Plants of Papua New Guinea – a compendium by Bruce French (

Bruce’s recent trip to Asia provided: more insight into labelling in botanic gardens; thoughts on local knowledge of food plants; sharing food plant information

Food plants mentioned: bananas – Musa balbisiana, Musa gracilis, Musa velutina, Musa buds

Places mentioned: Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens (Thailand), Papua New Guinea

People mentioned: Simmonds and Shepherd (scientists on bananas)

Others mentioned: Bioversity, Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge

Bruce shares about his recent trip to southern India and Sri Lanka, and discusses the need to grow tropical edible plants in tropical regions.

Food plants mentioned: Wild tumeric (Curcuma aromatica), Water plantain (Alsima plantago-aquatica), Butter Tree  (Pentadesma butyracea)

Places mentioned: India, Madurai, Kerala (Calicut), Bangalore (Banguluru), Sri Lanka, Kandy (Peradeniya Botanical Gardens), Thailand

Bruce finds it is encouraging when people use the term ‘majority world’ instead of the ‘developing world’. He discusses starchy staples. There will soon be an illustrated publication on our website as an introduction to starchy staple foods of the world.

Food plants mentioned: rice, wheat, yams (Dioscorea), cassava, sweet potato, taros, fonio, teff, cooking bananas, sago, sorghum, finger millet

Places mentioned: Asia, Pacific, Sahel, Ethiopia, Africa, India, Ghana, Nigeria

Bruce discusses links between plants and health, and regions where lack of diversity indicates poor health.

Food plants mentioned: Cordia species; mangrove nutmeg (Myristica hollrungii); Fongaar (Ipomoea violacea); Pendarahan (Horsfieldia sylvestris); Terminalia, Baccaurea, Gnetum, Barringtonia and Canarium nuts

Places mentioned: Madurai, India; China; Tibet; Waite Institute, Adelaide, Australia; Western Province, Papua New Guinea; Britain

People mentioned: Dr Graham Lyons

Bruce discusses resources in botanic gardens.

Keywords: biological systems, basic ecology, crop diversity, tropical plants, underutilised food plants, nutrient dense

Organisations mentioned: Plants for a Future, Xishuangbanna Botanic Gardens, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Director of Global Programmes for Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Economic Botany

Places mentioned: Zimbabwe, Uganda, Ghana

People mentioned: Ken Fern, Dr Susan Sharrock, Dr Malathi Fernandapulle

This May newsletter discusses the amazing diversity of research found on the internet, highlighting two websites of interest. Recent local contacts are mentioned.

Keywords: Permaculture, malnutrition, obesity, foraging, local foods

Food Plants mentioned: Indian spinach Basella alba, Silver beet Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla, Melothria scabra, Yacon Smallanthus sonchifolius

Countries mentioned: Britain, Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Tasmania

People mentioned: Miles Irving, Jennifer Baing

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Caring for the planet as good stewards of God’s resources

Keywords: creation care, edible plants, earth-careful, Christian agencies, God’s Resources, Permaculture, indigenous plants, biodiversity, smallholders, sacred, secular

Countries mentioned: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Ghana, Nagaland, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, UK, (Tasmania, Australia)

Book mentioned: Arthur Holmes’s book All Truth is God’s Truth

Organisations mentioned: Christians in Science, A Rocha International, EarthAbbey, Creation Care, TEAR, World Vision, ECHO Global Farm, International Society for Horticultural Science, Bioversity International, Crops For The Future, Food Plants International

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The two main issues in this newsletter are many factors to be considered in the ranking of edible plants and children as foragers – they are able to pick up extra nutrition in their diets this way. Edible insects, arid lands, herbs and spices, and famine foods are also more briefly discussed.

Edible plants mentioned: Panama berry (Muntingia calabura), coastal almond (Terminalia catappa), Job’s tears (Coix lachryma-jobi), Oenanthe leaves, ginger, galangal, tumeric, famine foods

Countries mentioned: Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Haiti, Africa, Indonesia, India

People mentioned: Professor Robert Freedman

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Bruce discusses the need for diversity in our foods, new food plants being introduced into the area, the importance of knowing about foods, and being aware of healthy trends today

Keywords: taste, colour, variety, diversity, adventure, vegetables, plant foods, edible plants, meat, diets, energy crisis, global warming, obesity, under-nutrition

Food Plants mentioned: Bacopa monnieri, Melothria scabra, Rungia klossii, Dioscorea alata, taros and yams, Musa sp., bananas, Sugarcane, Saccharum officinarum

Places mentioned: Tasmania, Central America, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Vanuatu

People mentioned: Sir Ghillean Prance, Julian Cribb, Colin Tudge, Dr Swaminathan

Books/ journals mentioned: Enough is Enough, Scientific American, The Evergreen Revolution

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Soil is meant to be a living dynamic system to enable plants to grow healthily and well.  In a healthy soil there are a multitude of living organisms. Efforts are being made to reduce soil cultivation and maintain plant material in the soil.

Keywords: soil, microrrhizal associations, Bacteria , Actinomycetes, Yeasts, Algae, Fungi, conservation agriculture, diversity, mulch, evergreen agriculture, legumes

Places mentioned: World Vegetable Centre, Christian Farmers’ Conference, Swaminathan Institute

Books mentioned: Two Ears Of Corn by Dr Roland Bunch