Pollinator Friendly Cookbook

Use this cookbook by Pollinator Partnership to create culinary masterpieces that honor pollinators and the work that they do.

Food is a basic human need, and without pollinators, humans would go hungry! 🦅 🦇 🐝 🦋 🪲 🪰 Birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, flies, and small animals that pollinate plants are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food. More than 200,000 species of pollinators are critical to the stability of our food supply.

In your search for ingredients, we encourage you to support local farmers that practice pollinator-friendly management techniques. Learn more at the Pollinator Partnership website.

Reviving Traditional Grain Production and Consumption (India)

At a Glance

  • Navdanya and the Organics & Millets e-Platform are part of a movement in India to revive the production and consumption of traditional grains such as millets
  • Millets are highly desirable for both sustainability and health reasons: there are dozens of varieties suited to varied local ecological conditions making them low input crops and they are highly nutritious, especially compared to rice and wheat and their more processed products that have largely replaced the diversity of traditional grains.
  • Lessons Learnt: reviving traditional crops that can meet both sustainability and nutrition goals requires a cultural shift as well as economic and policy supports. Rebuilding or creating infrastructure to promote these crops can have significant economic benefits for small-scale, rural producers and nutritional benefits for rural and urban communities.


Traditionally, a diversity of grains including millets, barley, rye, oats and corn were eaten in most parts of India. Since the middle of the twentieth century, these have been largely displaced by commercial grains such as rice and wheat. This shift has been driven in significant part by the pressures of globalized food, agriculture and trade systems.

In the 1950s and 1960s, a combination of industrialized agriculture and federal price supports led to an overproduction of wheat crops in the US. These surpluses were subsequently dumped as ‘food aid’ in countries like India, severely undermining local agricultural production capacity and bankrupting thousands of farmers. This dumping, in conjunction with the growth of the processed food industry, led to a significant shift in dietary patterns away from traditional grains and towards processed forms of wheat and rice. As products from the ‘developed’ industrialized world, these commercial grains were also seen as being socially and culturally more desirable. This trend continues today with traditional grains being perceived as old-fashioned and less appetizing.

In a 2020 study, Nayar estimates that this dietary shift was dramatic, including an 80% reduction in the consumption of millets across India since the 1960s . They have eroded demand and, in turn, production of traditional grains. Aggressive marketing and promotion of hybridized seeds and chemical inputs as well as growing demand due to dietary shifts has led to increased domestic production of monocultures of wheat and rice to replace traditional grain production.


Organizations such as Navdanya have been advocating for the revival of traditional grain varieties for sustainability, health and economic reasons:

  • Health: Millets, rye, barley, oats and corn are significantly more nutritious than wheat and rice, especially when those are consumed in highly processed forms such as polished rice and white flour or products made from these.
  • Sustainability: The diversity of traditional grains is adapted to different soil, water and growing conditions across India. As such, they are a more reliable crop option that requires minimal external inputs, is typically integrated in more biodiverse mixed cropping systems and is more resilient in the face of changing climatic conditions.
  • Economic: Seeds are open-pollinated and can be saved from year to year, thereby decreasing farmers’ reliance on expensive market-based inputs and the associated loans and debt that have been the cause of hundreds of thousands of farmer suicides.

Navdanya is supporting the revival of these traditional grains through awareness-raising campaigns and seed banks where traditional grain varieties are stored, propagated and distributed. The Organics & Millets e-platform and the Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) are examples of organizations working to understand and promote the health and ecological benefits of traditional grains with the aim of increasing their popularity and reviving their consumption.

The creation of more familiar convenience foods such as cookies, breakfast cereals, and ready-to-eat snacks from whole, traditional grains is an approach being used to make traditional grains more interesting and attractive to modern palates and lifestyles. These efforts are having positive results, notes Dr. Vilas Tonapi, Director of IIMR, with demand increasing about 20-22% each year.

Food for Thought
What traditional foods can be produced sustainably and offer more nutritious options in your region than commercial, processed foods?
What supports are needed to revive the popularity and consumption of these foods?
What other benefits might this revival have (such as economic or cultural benefits) that would engage other stakeholders in such a project?

Contact Information

Website: http://www.navdanya.org/
Phone: +91-135-2693025                   Email: navdanya@gmail.com

Organics and Millets e-platform
Website: organics-millets.in
Phone: +91-80-22074111                   Email: organicsandmillets@gmail.com

Indian Institute of Millets Research
Website: millets.res.in
Phone: +91-40-24599300                   Email: millets.icar@nic.in

updated 2023 April

NeverEndingFood Permaculture (Malawi)

At a Glance

  • NeverEndingFood (NEF) Permaculture is a home and community outreach that demonstrates approaches to all aspects of sustainable living, focused on resources indigenous to Malawi.
  • People create sustainable designs for their homes, offices, schools, churches, cities, etc. such as food forests, fuel efficient kitchens, water harvesting, composting toilets etc. for diverse production of foods, fuel, fodder, fibres, medicines, etc. for better nutrition, water and soil conservation and to transition away from synthetic seed and chemical inputs.

In April of 1997, Stacia and Kristof Nordin came to Malawi through the U.S. Peace Corps to do HIV prevention work. Stacia is a Registered Dietitian and Kristof is a social worker by training. Over time, they came to see HIV in the way that the village they were in saw it—as part of a whole. They began to see that a disease that attacks the immune system is connected to malnutrition that compromises the immune system which is connected to the diversity of foods being grown locally which is connected to soil fertility and fresh water availability and so on—an interconnected cycle.

During this time they were introduced to the concepts of permaculture which emphasize:

  1. Care for the earth
  2. Care for people
  3. Fair share of all resources

The Nordins, joined by their daughter Khalidwe in 2001, integrate permaculture into all aspects of their life. They created NeverEndingFood (NEF), their home in Chitedze, a small village about 30 km from the capital city, Lilongwe. Their home serves as a permaculture demonstration as well as a space to train interns and host visitors.

At NEF, they implement a well-design system that provide perennial, year-round access to diverse and nutritious foods and medicines. This approach helps families be more self-sufficient, have access to better nutrition, save money by reducing dependency on expensive agricultural inputs, and access additional income through food processing, diversified markets and unique product ideas. They multiply indigenous resources and share them for others to multiply further.

The advent of input-dependent, mono-culture farming on much of Malawi’s agricultural land led to an agricultural focus and dependence on maize as the primary crop. In spite of being blessed with a tropical climate and plentiful water, most farms now produce one maize crop a year leading to malnutrition due to the reliance on a single crop for the bulk of people’s nutritional needs. In line with traditional farming practices around the world, permaculture diversifies agriculture production to include local fruits and vegetables, animals and animal products, spices and fibres. This improves nutrition while conserving water, improving soil fertility and converting organic matter into a resource!

The Nordins believe that “all solutions come from the people themselves, which helps to provide the self-confidence and ownership that it will take to address future problems in a sustainable way.” Along with the work happening in Chitedze, the efforts and relationships at NEF have initiated and inspired many other projects that use an integrated permaculture approach to address sustainability and nutrition. Recognizing and incorporating these interconnections means that many of the initiatives simultaneously contribute to healthier and more diverse ecosystems, better human health and nutrition, community wellness, and economic resilience.

Food for Thought
What indigenous species do YOU know where YOU are? How are the global, industrialized food and agriculture systems influencing food production in your area?
Keeping these broader systems in mind, what solutions do you see that offer synergistic improvements in nutrition AND sustainability? 

Contact Information
Stacia and Kristof Nordin

updated 2023 April