Eat your beans and peas! The United Nations has declared 2016 to be the International Year of Pulses (IYP)! This year-long celebration aims to heighten public awareness about the nutritional benefits of pulses and their role in sustainable food production.
Not sure what a pulse is? Take a look at that bowl of hummus or your lentil soup! Pulses are annual leguminous crops yielding between one and 12 grains or seeds within a pod, such as lentils, beans, green peas and chickpeas. Whether they are grown organically or through conventional farming methods, pulses are a great source of protein and have nitrogen-fixing properties which can contribute to increasing soil fertility.
Pulses face many threats, including the pea aphid that attacks pea plants. Did you know that one female aphid produces 10-14 live young per day? In the 1930s before advanced crop protection products were available, the pea aphid destroyed more than half of Oregon’s pea crop. Thanks to the development of organic and synthetic pesticide technology, farmers can now prevent such threats from attacking their pulse crops and keep grocery stores stocked with plenty of protein options.