In the 1970s, Agricultural Scientist Bruce French was living in a village in Papua New Guinea. While there he noticed that many villagers suffered from disease and malnutrition and that there were no books on the local foods of that country.
Over the next fourty years, Bruce would extend his research to include food plants from around the world, gathering data on their nutritional values, how and where they can be grown, including weather conditions, and ultimately, how they can be used to help end malnutrition in the country’s population, providing a truly sustainable self-help solution to hunger, malnutrition and achieving food security.
During the course of his work, Bruce has created a continually growing database of over 29,500 edible plants, which has become the world’s most comprehensive database.
Included in the database, is nutritional information describing the origin of food plants, growing methods, photos, drawings of the plant and edible parts of the plants, and cooking methods, as well as descriptions, countries and climatic zones of the plants and origins. Nutritional information is available for a selection of these plants.
Food Plants International teamed with Rotary in June 2007 to create the Food Plant Solutions project, which provides developing countries with information on how to grow the most nutritious and viable food plants in their environment.
From humble beginnings to continuing success, Bruce’s research has helped create a solid foundation for learning and teaching information on food plants from around the world and how a simple and sustainable solution to global malnutrition can benefit entire countries.
In January 2016, Australia rightly recognised the significance of Bruce’s work awarding him an Officer of the Order of Australia. Food Plant Solutions is under-pinned by the FPI database as we recognise and appreciate the immense value of Bruce’s work. We have the ability to provide self-sustainable solutions that empowers local people to make informed choices about what plants to grow that will nutritiously feed their family and this is due to Bruce.