Of the 6,000 plant species that have been cultivated by humans, just nine of them account for 66% of cultivated crops, according to the FAO’s 2019 report from the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Of the 7,774 local breeds of livestock worldwide, 26% are in danger of becoming extinct.
That poses dangers for the robustness of the environment, the safety of our food supply chain, and even our potential exposure to pandemics, due to diseases that jump from animals to humans. It also makes our food less nutritious, less interesting—and less unique.
The COVID-19 crisis could offer a chance to reassess the way we eat—to revamp the diversity of our diets and our food systems, revisiting local and forgotten foods, particularly when it comes to fruits and vegetables.