Thanks

This little girl, eating a piece of cooked orange sweet potato, needs pro-vitamin A, among other nutrients, to grow up healthy. Image from HarvestPlus, used with permission.

It’s Thanksgiving today in the US, a holiday that for many is a day to consider what you are thankful for and who you wish to thank. Nicholas D. Kristof, a columnist for the NY Times, suggests that we should be thankful for orange sweet potatoes and give thanks to those hardworking people developing and distributing these and other biofortified crops in his article Bless the Orange Sweet Potato.

We’re so lucky in the US to have a diverse diet that provides all the micronutrients we need. We can be thankful for our climates and soils that are able to produce great amounts of food, easy access to technology that helps farmers grow more, fortified foods that ensure we all get more than enough nutrients, and so many more elements of the system that brings us the bounty on our Thanksgiving tables.

For people in much of Africa, these elements aren’t available for a variety of reasons. We all look forward to a future when every person has access to a diverse diet that will meet their nutritional needs, but it will be a long time coming. Until then, so many people will suffer due to a lack of pro-vitamin A, iron, and other essential nutrients.

Like Mr. Kristof, I am thankful for the people at HarvestPlus and other organizations who are working so hard to help everyone get the micronutrients they need. The orange sweet potato is just one of many life-saving projects that will be coming out in the next few years.

I can’t think of anything better to give #foodthanks for. Now, time to go enjoy some orange sweet potatoes.

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