Importance of uncultivated foods
Whether it is bad cultivation year, hunger months, or lean weeks when the PDS ration dries up and employment not available, it is the uncultivated foods which keep communities alive
If the forest is maintained well in all its diversity and if access is good, there is a year-long supply of such uncultivated foods. This is especially so with tubers, greens and various fruits
Most such foods are highly nutritious and safe with no chemicals or additives .
At a time when income inequities are showing up starkly, this is a food source that is not just affordable but completely free. .
Wild species are supposed to be more resilient in this age of climate change, compared to cultivated species.
There is an enormous wealth of biological knowledge associated with these foods with members of the community, including children.
Several of these foods hold great cultural significance for the communities dependent on them.
Unequal access, ownership and decision-making roles for men and women is fortunately missing in the case of wild uncultivated foods.
The nutritional diversity that the uncultivated foods offer is a very important and neglected answer to micro-nutrient deficiency among tribals. Of the energy-giving foods consumed by the locals, 25 per cent come from the forests (tubers mostly). Around 50 per cent of the foods good for growth and development, and are protein-rich is from forests. Even a good portion of the foods rich in vitamins, and immunity boosters like several greens and wild fruits were sourced from forests.