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February 10th World Pulses Day: Celebrate Hummus and Falafel
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February 10th World Pulses Day: Celebrate Hummus and Falafel

Danielle Nierenberg
Dear Mostafa,
Greetings Food Tank family!
This week I’m reflecting on the wonderful people I met in Melbourne last week at festival21, where we were out until nearly 11pm each night discussing the wonderful potential of Australia’s food system. While I’m exhausted, I’m even more excited about the hard work being done by groups and individuals in the food scene not just in Australia, but around the world. This conference focused on the future was a great reminder for me to do the same, as 2019 is shaping up to be a fast-paced year!
My calendar is filling up with events all focused on bettering our food systems. Later this February, I’ll be off to Nairobi to attend the TEEBAgriFood Symposium which will facilitate discussions on the impacts of various agri-food systems and policy interventions. In early March I’ll be attending the Expo West trade show in Anaheim to check out what new natural food products have entered the market this year. Shortly after, I’ll be in Austin for South by Southwest Festival speaking with multiple panels including Land O’Lakes, Google, and our own Food Tank sponsored panel. You can keep track of all of these exciting events on the Food Tank Events page.
One event that we can all participate in is World Pulses Day, happening on February 10th. This is the first year that the world will come together on one day to celebrate lentils, chickpeas, lupins, and peas. The FAO and UN declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses with the goal of spreading awareness about the numerous benefits of this crop. Due to the success of these endeavors, the UN-appointed International Year of Pulses Steering Committee has declared February 10th as World Pulses Day to continue to spread awareness and give the world an opportunity to add these protein-packed crops to their meal plan for the day.
Contributing Author: Kirby Barth
February 10th is the first annual World Pulses Day, a day put aside to celebrate the many ways these crops are key to sustainable farming and healthy diets. Pulses are the dried seeds of common legume plants, such as fava beans, chickpeas, lentils, and lupins. As climate change creates more challenges for farmers and eaters alike, the world will depend more on pulses for their ability to their resilience and tastiness.
Pulses have been a staple to the human diet for thousands of years, and today, eaters enjoy these delicious plants in foods like falafel, hummus, and lentil based dishes. Because pulses are high in protein and packed with essential micronutrients and vitamins, they are frequently used as the foundation of meat alternatives. The double food and environment pyramid by Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition is a tool that helps explain how legumes and other foods have both nutritional and environmental benefits.
In celebration of these climate-resilient crops, and the international day that honors them, Food Tank has compiled a list of some of our favorite articles written about pulses in the last few years. This February 10th, plan to cook your own meal with pulses and share what you made with the world using the hashtag #LovePulses.

  1. Eat Pasta and Pulses as Part of a Sustainable Diet
    Studies show that 78 percent of households always have pasta in the pantry. Pasta has a long shelf life and is also a substantial source of plant protein. A common partner to pasta is the environmentally friendly and nutritious pulse family. Lentils, fava beans, chickpeas and more can make a perfect complement to your pasta dish.
  2. The International Year of Pulses
    The UN declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses and elected six special ambassadors from around the world to promote this food group. This declaration aimed to highlight the nutritional and environmental benefits of growing and eating pulses.
  3. A Diet Change to Fight Climate Change: Eat More Pulses
    Pulses are a great source of fiber, protein and iron, and give back to the planet as well. Requiring very little water to grow, pulses also forge their own nitrogen, removing the need for nitrogen fertilizers that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions every day.
  4. 10 Ways to Celebrate the International Year of Pulses
    The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organizations has a video highlighting unique opportunities for pulses to contribute to food security and combat climate change.
  5. Legumes and Beans: One Key to Improving Food Security in Malawi
    In 2012, 1.6 million people in Malawi were impacted by food insecurity. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service (ARS) worked with farmers at the University of Malawi’s Bunda College to develop drought-resistant legumes.
  6. Drought-Resistant White Beans Bring Hope to Smallholder Farmers in Ethiopia
    Food Tank interviews the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) to discuss their recent report on a catastrophic drought that hit Ethiopian smallholder farmers hard, and the new drought-resilient bean variety currently being developed for the region.
  7. Sweet Sugar Snaps or Sour Pancakes? The Cultivation of Legumes in Ethiopia for Export
    Ethiopia has almost perfect climate conditions to grow legumes like sugar snaps and snow peas. The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) is making sure that the infrastructure is right to successfully grow these crops throughout the country.
  8. Millets, Sorghum, and Grain Legumes: the Smart Foods of the Future
    The Smart Food Project works to promote consumption of nutrient-rich and drought-tolerant crops, including grain legumes like chickpea, pigeon pea, green gram, and groundnut
  9. Hampton Creek Is Replacing Eggs with Yellow Peas
    Hampton Creek Foods choose to use yellow peas in place of egg in some of their mayonnaise and cookie dough recipes in order to eliminate the need for factory farmed eggs.
  10. Greenpeace Recommends 50 Percent Reduction in Meat and Dairy Consumption by 2050
    According to a recent report by Greenpeace, global animal production and consumption must decrease by 50 percent by 2050 to ensure planet and human health. Protein and fiber-dense pulses make a great plant substitute to meat products.
    (Danielle Nierenberg is President of Food Tank and an expert on sustainable agriculture and food issues. She has written extensively on gender and population, the spread of factory farming in the developing world and innovations in sustainable agriculture.)