Happy (early) Earth Day! In honor of a day that celebrates how incredible our planet is and how we can better steward it, I couldn’t resist: legumes and Earth Day go well together! In addition to their many benefits for human health, legumes are an important crop for sustainability, too. Of course, sustainability is nuanced and always depends on many factors, such as growing practices. But overall, legumes have many wonderful properties that are important every day but seem extra relevant to share on Earth Day.
Legumes and Sustainability
- The ability to improve soil fertility. For example, crops like lentils and dry beans fix nitrogen in the soil, reducing the need for fertilizers and enriching the soil for the next crop.
- Eating plant sources of protein – like legumes – can result in lower greenhouse gas emissions than other protein sources. (Of course, the true impact depends on things like how the animals and legumes were raised/grown, and animals can be sustainably raised.)
- Legumes like pulses (e.g., dry beans, lentils, chickpeas, dry peas) are highly water efficient, helping to conserve water. With current droughts and climate change, this is critical!
- Legumes like dry beans and other pulses store well for long periods of time, which can reduce food waste. Many of us have bags of dry beans that have been sitting in our pantry for longer than we may like to admit, but the good news is they should cook up just fine! No need to throw them out.
All of this PLUS legumes are super delicious and versatile!! I don’t know about you, but my Earth Day plans involve legumes with every meal.
Looking for More Ideas or Info?
Looking for ideas on how to celebrate Earth Day deliciously? Check out some of my recipes.
If you want to read more about pulses (a type of legume) and sustainability, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has some great infographics and other resources on their International Year of Pulses website.