Your morning coffee is in jeopardy. There are only two species of coffee plants upon which the entire multibillion-dollar industry is predicated: one is considered inferior in flavour, and the other, which you’re probably familiar with, is threatened by climate change and a lethal fungal disease.
Fortunately, there is another type of coffee known as stenophylla. It has a greater heat tolerance, increased resistance to certain fungal pathogens, and a delicious flavour. There is only one problem: it is extremely rare, and scientists believed it was extinct until recently.
Stenophylla is just one of dozens of critically endangered foods, according to Dan Saladino, a BBC journalist and author of the new book Eating to Extinction: The World’s Rarest Foods and Why They Must Be Saved. While grocery stores may appear to be as plentiful as ever, Saladino argues that food diversity is actually declining. For example, of the hundreds of thousands of wheat varieties once cultivated, only a handful are now grown commercially, he told Vox.
Dan Saladino, a food journalist and former BBC reporter, has written a new book about some of the world’s most exotic foods and why we need them. Colligan, Thomas
As we cultivate and harvest fewer varieties of plants and animals, the foods available at the grocery store may become less nutritious and flavorful, and the global food system may become less resilient, as demonstrated by the current state of coffee. That is why it is critical to support communities that are preserving foods from extinction, Saladino explained in an interview with Vox about his new book.