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why

BREADFRUIT

Unlocking Breadfruit's potential

Our food choices have big impacts on the planet. Whether we realize it or not, food impacts how land is managed, what plants and animals exist in an area, and how healthy people are.

 

We have the power to make choices that create food systems that both nourish people and ecosystems at the same time. Given our current ecological challenges, Breadfruit (and other tree crops like it) offers us huge potential for more regenerative food systems across the world. We only have to choose.

Drawing of Breadfruit Fruit

(Source: The Lexicon)

Why food choices matter

When we say our “food system” we’re referring to the elements and consequences of producing and consuming food. It involves what people eat, where food comes from, and how producing food impacts the environment. We ask questions like: does the food system nourish or degrade the land, health, and economy of a place?

Many of our current challenges are connected with environmentally destructive food production like industrial farming. A decision like what food to produce could mean the clearing of forests to grow a single crop or rear animals, for example.

 

Similarly, where food comes from impacts society. In the Caribbean, dependence on imported food at the expense of locally grown foods has weakened food sovereignty and economic resilience. Changing these trends requires making different choices, starting with our food sources.

As a source of food, Breadfruit produces a versatile and nutritious crop that regenerates every year without the need to re-plant or till soils. As a tree, it naturally helps to restore forests while providing food for people and habitat for wildlife.

 

Growing Breadfruit does not require industrial farming (it grows well in backyards, along roads, and in the wild). As the Breadfruit tree matures it enriches the soil while sequestering carbon at impressive rates. Breadfruit can even be used to produce flour that can make a range of products!

We think it’s time to consciously ensure that our food both nourishes people and the ecosystems in which we live. Breadfruit can be part of that solution.

Breadfruit:
A Regenerative Powerhouse

The breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is a large perennial tree in the mulberry family that thrives in the tropics, growing between 12 and 18 meters high. Mature trees can produce around 300 fruits per year and require minimal input as they mature. The fruits are large and starchy.

Depending on when it’s picked and how it’s prepared, breadfruit can taste like a potato, bread, an artichoke, or a sweet desert. It can be roasted, baked, boiled, fried, even eaten raw, or turned into Breadfruit flour. Flour made from the dried fruit is versatile and easy to make. 

It’s nutritionally dense, unlike the most popular starches (wheat, rice, potatoes). Breadfruit contains about double the protein as white rice and potatoes and is a good source of potassium, magnesium, vitiamins, and other minerals

By providing fruit, flour, value-added products (such as Breadfruit chips), timber, animal habitat, carbon sequestration, and economic activity, breadfruit tree are multifunctional powerhouses!

Nutritional Comparison of Breadfruit, Potators, White Rice

per 100g. (Source: Breadfruit Institute NTBG, et al)

Products Made Using Breadfruit

 Breadfuits gives: 

1

FOOD (a lot)

Breadfruit trees can produce around 400 kilograms of fruit each year that can be turned into flour and other food products. It tastes great and is already a cherished food in many cultures.

2

LONG life. low maintenance

Breadfruit trees survive for decades and in some cases over a century. They require little maintenance once established.

3

SOIL Building

Breadfruit trees build soil fertility as they grow, with little soil disturbance required to plant them (no tilling needed).

4

WILDLIFE habitat

Breadfruit trees add to habitat for birds, pollinators, and fruit bats, playing an important role in the conservation of biodiversity.

5

CARBON Sequestration

breadfruit trees capture large amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Carbon is stored in both the plant and the soil.

Transforming Agriculture:
Breadfruit’s Role

Extractive farming has damaged our soils, watersheds, and forests. To repair the damage while feeding people, our food production must become regenerative. Breadfruit can help catalyse a shift towards widescale agroforestry in tropical climates like the Caribbean. 

Even though the Caribbean has a year-round growing season and ideal climatic conditions for abundance, much of the food is imported, many people lack access to quality food, and the farmable land is being rapidly degenerated. 

 

These reflect, in part, lingering impacts of colonial agricultural and trade that deforested many Caribbean islands to plant crops for export such as sugar cane and dismantled domestic food systems for the benefit the European countries that colonized them.

By transitioning to ecologically-based agriculture, such as agroforestry (which combines agriculture with trees to create food ecosystems), Caribbean societies can return to a food system based on healthy forests that promotes local crops better adapted to the tropics.

 

Right now, there is huge potential for land to be rapidly regenerated as part of the food production process. A key element is food-producing trees - trees that feed people, heal soils, and sequester carbon. Trees like Breadfruit.

Example of Agroforestry Using Breadfruit

Example: agroforest using Breadfruit. Breadfuit (in green) occupies the "tall" layer once it matures. (Source: Breadfruit Agroforestry Guide, 29)

The world's most consumed carbohydrates are grown as monocrops using industrial agriculture. Breadfruit grows in forestry and if utilized more, can help mainstream agroforestry throughout the tropics. This is why Breadfruit is increasingly recognized as “the most ecological carbohydrate in the world”

Embracing Breadfruit:
Opportunities for all

Whether as individuals, communities, industries, or governments, we can better embrace breadfruit in these ways.

1

Utilize Breadfruit products more

Breadfruit’s high yield and minimal maintenance already make it a cost-effective option. Better utilization of Breadfruit to produce value-added products such as Breadfruit flour can unlock greater earning potential. The breadfruit value chain stimulates earning potential across various sectors, from farming to processing. It only needs greater uptake and it’s relatively easy!

2

Grow more food in agroforestry using Breadfruit

Through agroforestry, we can both restore forests and grow healthy food. Breadfruit can be grown in backwards, in cities, or on farms. Breadfruit trees are drought-resistant, live for a long time, and grow well alongside other crops in the same space. A Breadfruit tree gets better with time.

3

Promote Breadfruit products for public health & resilience

Given the extreme dependence on imported foods (especially starches such as wheat and rice), greater production of Breadfruit-based products can enhance food sovereignty. And its remarkable nutritional yield can support a healthier population, especially in situations where healthy food isn’t available to everyone.

let's choose smarter

Food choices are powerful, possible, and always present. Through our choices, we have the opportunity to impact how environment is managed and how resilient our communities are. It’s time we made choices that do good in all directions.

 

With Breadfruit, we have an opportunity that is easy, tasty, time-tested, nutritious, and ecologically beneficial. We have an opportunity that is regenerative.

Let’s eat more Breadfruit.

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