Last summer, Europe and North America experienced some recording-breaking high temperatures. In many parts of the world, however, 40°C is actually not that unusual. Thankfully, we can modify our environment with fans and air conditioners to make the heat a bit more bearable. But still, we all suffer when those summer heatwaves hit.
It’s a similar story for the crops and livestock we eat. They have their ideal temperature ranges. Too much heat upsets that equilibrium. Certain internal processes begin to break down with every degree beyond that comfortable threshold. Often, a plant’s maturation and reproduction cycles are compromised, resulting in reduced quality and quantity of yield or total crop failure. Livestock have the same problem. Yet plants and animals can’t march into their nearest supermarket and ask for sunblock or a cooling unit to avoid the scorching sun.
Agriculture is forced to adapt or face the consequences, but adaptation doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years. Meanwhile, extreme weather events like these heatwaves are expected to become more frequent and intense. Business as usual is simply not good enough.
Fortunately, scientists – including many Crop Trust and Food Forever Partner Organizations – are already busy trying to identify and better understand the foods that can naturally beat the heat. While we humans seek shelter, some foods stand out as durable and resilient in a world with rising temperatures.
Check out three foods that can beat the heat this summer on Food Forever!