On October 16th, World Food Day will call attention to the crucial role that small-scale family farmers play in creating a more sustainable global food system – and it couldn’t come at a more opportune time. As the global population approaches nine billion by the year 2050, nourishing the world and preserving diminishing environmental resources presents a daunting challenge. Over the coming week, Food Tank will highlight the many ways in which small-scale farmers – both urban and rural – are growing healthy, nutritious food for their communities while protecting the planet.
Although the United States is a country made up of immigrants, people coming to the U.S. today are often forced to leave behind the foods and flavors of their birthplaces. But the garden egg is a crop that has long been cultivated around the globe, and has recently found its place in American gardens. While growing and eating crops like the garden egg may bring a taste of home to immigrants from Togo, Liberia, and Ghana, they also have the potential to improve the food system for us all. Research by CGIAR has found that smallholder farmers who cultivate indigenous crops not only increase their net income and improve biodiversity, but also play a significant role in enriching the diets and health of their communities.
Food Tank had the opportunity to spend a day in the garden and the kitchen with Yao Afantchao, a farmer and indigenous crops specialist at the University of the District of Columbia College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences. Watch the video below to learn more about the garden egg, and how to integrate it into your own meals. Use the comments section to let others know if garden eggs are available in your area!
Afantchao also shared a recipe for a dish that is made with steamed garden egg and mushrooms, which is a twist on a traditional West African dish. It’s a great starting point for anyone interested in introducing indigenous crops into his or her cooking repertoire.
Garden Egg and Mushroom Recipe
Provided by Yao Afantchao
Prep time: 10 min
Total time: 35 min
3 cups garden eggs, quartered
3 cups mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon anise seed
1 cup fruity white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh parsley for garnish
- Wash the garden eggs and mushrooms and steam for 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
- In a large pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoon of oil and sauté onion for 4 minutes. Add anise seed and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the garden eggs and paprika and cook by stirring gently for 10 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and the wine and quickly bring to a boil.
- Cover pan and reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Swirl in the remaining olive oil. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Garnish with sliced garlic and parsley, and serve immediately.