Have you heard of the term monoculture? Well, mono means ‘one’ and monoculture means to cultivate just one kind of something. I have been researching different types of monoculture in our food systems today and was quite shocked at what I found out.
What Leads To Monoculture?
Did you know that there are about 1000 different kinds of bananas? They vary in color, taste, texture, and smell. Some last a long time on the shelf and some need to be eaten as soon as they are picked. Some taste like other fruits and some like nothing you have ever tasted before. Some grow at different climates and temperatures but mostly they like tropical weather.
Unfortunately, only 1 out of hundreds is shipped to the United States for us to eat. It’s because there is only one that can be picked green and shipped across the world to ripen on the shelf and still taste good. Most bananas get too soft and rot before arriving at their destination. Banana growers only ship this one kind of banana so therefore they end up growing only the kind that sells. This is where the term monoculture comes in.
This restrictive, market-driven growing pattern leads to a lot of varieties/species either cut down to very localized markets and some getting lost forever.
How Monoculture Has Become A Problem Or Can Become A Problem?
Impact Of Variety On Your Brain
The diversity in the foods that we eat have made us who we are today as humans. Trying different species, colors and tastes have evolved our brains and most of all our taste buds. Differences in foods also provide different vitamins and minerals, which are essential for us to thrive in today’s world.
Impact On The Natural Ecosystem
The second and the biggest reason that monoculture is bad is in the evolution of species to protect themselves from things that kill it, such as bugs, viruses, and bacteria. If there is one species of bananas, in this case, that is favored by the bugs and destroyed then you loose only that one species. If there are many different kinds that are being grown then it is not bad because there are other species that will be untouched by the bugs. But in the case of monoculture, if you have a bug that evolves to like the only banana species that we grow then it will cause total devastation and the loss of that food altogether.
And this is only bananas that I am talking about here. We, as humans, have done this to most of the fruits and vegetables that you find in the supermarket. It’s not just to scare you but it’s to inform you that we need to take our food back into our own hands and chose to eat many different types. By shopping closer to home and from a local farmer or better yet grow your own. The more you take responsibility for your own health/food the better.
Grow Your Own To Ensure Variety
I have started growing my own food recently and love it! I bought a tower garden from juice plus and have never looked back. I’m not the best and yes I have killed some things but the fact that I am trying makes all the difference.
If you’re not there yet and want someone else to grow your food check online and find your closest farmers market. It is well worth your time and energy. Also, look for things you have not tried yet and stuff that you have never seen before. The more diverse foods you eat the better your health.