The UN has declared 2016 International Year of Pulses, ie beans, peas, lentils and other leguminous crops. This recognizes the fundamental importance of these rich sources of quality protein in providing healthier and more sustainable food choices for everyone. They improve soils and reduce fertilizer and energy inputs to farming, and have a massively lower eco footprint in terms of climate, land and water footprints compared to protein from animals. More from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation here:

This UK press release on IYP has some interesting anecdotes:

Can we find engaging ways to give Pulses more of a centre stage in 2016, to build our Green Capital legacy? Growing, cooking and eating them in and around Bristol?

Flexi Bristol has designed some Brilliant Bean school workshops with fantastic materials that can be used for further work with children: these should soon be available online, but the organizers can be contacted by their websites at and .

There are some interesting ideas on the official IYP recipe page at . And of course many more locally-procured recipies here: .

This is all most pertinent following the landmark Paris Climate agreement, since this needs to be followed up by action and pulses provide the major part of the solution to climate emissions from the food system.

This article provides good comparative information on food footprints: . The main chart shows the much lower life-cycle climate emissions from beans, lentils and tofu (simple protein-rich product made from soya beans) compared to animal sources: meat (yes even grass-fed!), cheese, fish and eggs.

The actual 2-page UN declaration is very readable and summarizes why pulses have been given special recognition:

Bristol Friends of the Earth is looking for opportunities to raise awareness of these issues in its campaigning in 2016. Please get in touch to join in,