Learn◊Grow empowers people in developing countries to harness local food plant resources to feed themselves and their families. No costly equipment or structural improvements are required to get people switched onto the advantages of growing local food plants including:
• greater production
• better adaptation to local conditions – soil type, rainfall, temperature
• better resistance to pests and diseases, hence lower costs for pesticides
• simpler growing requirements, no need for extensive areas cleared for monoculture cultivation
• better nutritional quality of local food plants
Bruce French has documented that local food crops are frequently nutritionally superior to exotic food crops. Nutrient levels in local food crops can be dramatically better than in exotic food plants.
The main obstacle to local people taking advantage of local food plants is a lack of knowledge about their identification, nutritional benefits and production methods. Learn◊Grow is focussed on imparting this knowledge to people in developing countries.
At a national economy level in developing countries, switching over to growing local food crops, instead of growing exotic food crops or importing foodstuffs, can insulate the national economy from the shocks of rising world food prices or oil based products e.g. fertilisers and pesticides. Rising prices for imported foodstuffs (e.g. rice) means less money for essential services like health and education. Indirect costs, like the costs of shipping, can also push up the price of imported foodstuffs.