You probably remember George Washington Carver from elementary school. He was the man made famous by his more than 300 inventive uses for peanuts. What you may not know is the role that his many inventions played in promoting sustainability.
The Carolina African Runner peanut, once thought extinct, re-emerges, giving farmers and chefs a new culinary adventure. At Clemson University’s Coastal Research and Education Lab, horticulturist Dr. Brian Ward stands for hours at a time carefully hand sorting, shelling and cleaning a small, distinctive and somewhat celebrated peanut known as the Carolina African Runner peanut. And like most rare finds, it has a story behind it.
Peanut breeders are thinking small and innovating with peanut seeds to improve the sustainability of peanut production. Developing new varieties that maximize peanuts’ already sustainable traits can help reduce the environmental impact of peanut farming, make production more cost-effective for farmers and make peanuts one of the most sustainable crops.
It’s no secret that many Americans fall short when it comes to eating the recommended five daily servings of fruits and veggies, despite the health benefits. Many of us know we should be eating more fruits and vegetables. So, why aren’t we getting enough? Here are some common barriers to fruit and veggie consumption, and strategies to help you add more produce to your plate.
Forty states are expected to have water shortages over the next 10 years. U.S. communities are starting to face both quality and supply issues, unrelated to drought, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). America’s agriculture sector accounts for about 80% of U.S. water consumption, according to the USDA.
And peanuts are the most water efficient of all nuts, using only 3.2 gallons of water to produce one serving (1 ounce) compared to almonds, for example, which use 28.7 gallons per ounce. Worldwide peanut production contributes to just 1% of the global water footprint, which is the measure of water used to produce goods and services.
We hear about sustainability a lot these days. But what does sustainability mean to peanut farmers? To some peanut farmers it’s taking care of their land for their future grandchildren, or making sure they stay in business each year to feed their family and community. But in a nutshell, sustainability means enriching the land, our communities and people’s health.
Peanuts are one of the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly food sources available today. A feature of its growing cycle — self-pollination — makes peanuts environmentally friendly.
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