The benefits of diversifying food and diets


 Foreword - Braulio Dias (82 KB)
 Foreword - Olivier De Schutter (43 KB)

 Preface - Emile Frison and Barbara Burlingame (65 KB)

 Introduction: Agricultural Biodiversity, Diverse Diets and Improving Nutrition (71 KB)

Part 1: The State of Agricultural Biodiversity and Nutrition – Overviews, Models and Themes
1.  Harnessing biodiversity: from diets to landscapes (521 KB)
2.  Overview of agricultural biodiversity and its importance to nutrition and health (131 KB)
3.  The role of livestock and livestock diversity in sustainable diets (712 KB)
4.  Valuing aquatic biodiversity in agricultural landscapes (1.1 MB)

Part 2: Creating an Enabling Environment
5.  Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa – delivery mechanisms for mobilizing agricultural biodiversity for improved food and nutrition security (762 KB)
6.  Sustained and integrated promotion of local, traditional food systems for nutrition security (550 KB)
7.  Linking biodiversity and nutrition: Research methodologies (1.6 MB)
8.  Successes and pitfalls of linking nutritionally promising Andean crops to markets (1.0 MB)
9.  Biodiversity’s contribution to dietary diversity: magnitude, meaning and measurement (1.8 MB)
10.  "Opening a can of Mopane worms": Can cross-sectoral partnerships leverage agricultural biodiversity for better quality diets? (150 KB)

Part 3: Case Studies: Agricultural biodiversity and food based approaches to improving nutrition
1.  Traditional foods of the Pacific: Go Local, a case study in Pohnpei, FSM (989 KB)
2.  The Role of integrated homegardens and local, neglected and underutilized plant species in food security in Nepal and meeting the MDGs (2.5 MB)
3.  Diversity of indigenous fruit trees and their contribution to nutrition and livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa: examples from Kenya and Cameroon (623 KB)
4.  Fish diversity and fish consumption in Bangladesh (1.8 MB)
5.  The introduction of OFSP in Mozambican diets: a marginal change to make a major difference (1.5 MB)
6.  Diversifying diets: using indigenous vegetables to improve profitability, nutrition and health in Africa (456 KB)
7.  Diversifying diets: using agricultural biodiversity to improve nutrition and health in Asia (1.6 MB)
8.  Minor millets in India: a neglected crop goes mainstream (664 KB)
9.  Local food and dietary diversity: farmers markets and community gardens in Melbourne, Australia (1.5 MB)
10.  "Please Pick Me" – How Incredible Edible Todmorden is re-purposing the commons for open source food and agricultural biodiversity (1.2 MB)
11.  Cultivating health with leafy vegetables in coastal Tanzania (996 KB)
12.  The Food Acquisition Programme in Brazil: contributions to biodiversity, food security and nutrition (369 KB)

For more information click here.

March 2013 • ISBN 9781849714570

The publication Diversifying Food and Diets revisits the role agricultural biodiversity can play in improving dietary diversity and health outcomes in a world where 868 million people are undernourished, 195 million children under the age of five are stunted and over 1 billion people are overweight and obese.

Using examples and case studies from around the globe, the book explores current strategies for improving nutrition and diets and identifies key research and implementation gaps that need to be addressed to successfully promote the better use of agricultural biodiversity to improve nutrition and food security.

Food system-based approaches that use local agricultural biodiversity to address diet-related health problems (such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease) by enhancing food availability and diet quality often fall outside the traditional scope of nutrition, and have been under-researched. As a consequence, there remains insufficient evidence to support well-defined, scalable agricultural biodiversity interventions that can be linked to improvements in nutrition outcomes. The book provides a set of lessons learned and a basis to help practitioners carry out similar efforts in other regional contexts.

What they are saying about our book

“At a time where fortification is widely promoted as the most effective solution to address micro-nutrient deficiencies, this book serves as an important reminder that nature provides an almost infinite variety of food species which are disregarded and therefore pushed into oblivion and extinction by the prevailing food production system. Sustainable development will only happen if we manage such resources in a sustainable way, building on local cultures, protecting and strengthening livelihoods, and ensuring good nutrition and health.”
Florence Egal, Food Security, Nutrition and Livelihoods, Nutrition Division, FAO

“This book is important and deserves a wide readership. Only once governments are convinced of the importance of agricultural biodiversity, shall they implement the policies that are urgently required to move away from the direction of agricultural development that is dominant today” – From the foreword by Olivier De Schutter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the authors and partner organizations on this milestone publication. Their work offers a comprehensive summary of contemporary information and good practices, identifies gaps in research and provides insight on potential opportunities for a variety of policy options.”
From the foreword by Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Convention on Biological Diversity


The many ingredients of a Sri Lanka curry - Bioversity/S.Landersz

In the media

Diversifying diets crucial to global health - Charles Sturt University News - 22 March 2013. Read more

Agricultural biodiversity plays key role in food and nutritional security - NewsMedical - 2 May 2013. Read more

Diversifying food and diets: Using agricultural biodiversity to improve nutrition and health - New Agriculturist - June 2013. Read more