Some food plants are well suited to agriculture while others are not - this is a theme explored in Guns, Germs, and SteelW by Jared Diamond.

For example, only one Australian plant (the macadamia) has become a successful commercial crop. Other Australian plants can be used as bush tucker (harvested, prepared and eaten) but have not prove practical in commerce.

Many plants can provide high-quality food, but are not suited for storage or transport - so they either don't appear in shops, or appear rarely and for a high price. Growing these in a private or public garden allows the benefits to be enjoyed without worrying about transport or storage - eating them straight off the plant, or picking and using immediately.

Examples are grouped by plant type, below.




Semi-wild[edit | edit source]

Australia Aboriginal peoples developed practices to increase the number of food plants, without actually practicing "agriculture." This included letting seeds drop in areas that they frequented (was this a deliberate practice?[verification needed]), and replacing the tops of wild yams in the soil, so they could regrow.

Semi-commercial[edit | edit source]

Sometimes used commercially, but either expensive, or rare in fresh form due to handling challenges:

In the garden[edit | edit source]

These plants can provide frequent healthy snacks, and can help introduce children to the joys of healthy natural foods.

Becoming commercially viable[edit | edit source]

Some plants began in this category, but through selective breeding and new growing techniques

became commercial - for example the blueberry.[verification needed]

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Authors Chris Watkins
Published 2010
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