The IYP 2016 aims to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition. The Year will create a unique opportunity to encourage connections throughout the food chain that would better utilize pulse-based proteins, further global production of pulses, better utilize crop rotations and address the challenges in the trade of pulses.
What are pulses?
Pulses, a subgroup of legumes, are plant species members of the Leguminosae family (commonly known as the pea family) that produce edible seeds which are used for human and animal consumption.
Only legumes harvested for dry grain are classified as pulses. Legume species when used as vegetables (e.g. green peas, green beans), for oil extraction (e.g. soybean, groundnut) and for sowing purposes (e.g. clover, alfalfa) are not considered pulses.
Many, if not most of us here already know that pulses are pretty darn awesome. They are delicious, good for the soil, beautiful, long storing, high nutrition, frugal friendly food, and come in a great diversity of colours, flavours and shapes. It seems rather superfluous to have some international organization tell us what we already know.
These little beans are so darn fantastic, I often forget that not everyone knows how awesome pulses are. Canada, where I'm writing from, may be the second largest producers of pulses in the world, but it is also one of the lowest consumers. Maybe it is time to celebrate pulses. Maybe we could use this as an excuse to try something new. Maybe grow a new variety of pulse this year. Or perhaps cook a feast for friends, with various dishes celebrating pulses. Maybe it doesn't have to be just this year we celebrate these little gems, maybe we could do it next year too...and the year after... and every year.
picture from here
Over half my farm is in pulses this year. Favas, chickpeas, soup peas and lentils all planted during the winter, are growing well. Favas in full bloom, no pests or the like showing an interest in my pulses. I have a high hopes for a bumper pulse harvest.