As you walk through Sainsbury’s supermarket aisles you might be surprised to find that some of the products – including asparagus, peas, beans and grapes – come from one of the world’s oldest, driest deserts in southern Peru.
While it might sound unusual, the results are some of the successes from the supermarket’s partnership with Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, a world famous center for botanical and mycological knowledge, as they develop the idea of ‘conservation through use’.
This helps return native and threatened species to otherwise arid areas, introducing them into schools and communities to ensure sustainable, effective growing. Now two years in it’s proven really successful, not only improving farming, but integrating and maintaining delicate ecosystems to build a sustainable future for local people.
Thanks to its success, Sainsbury’s have already seen attention from across Peru and the whole community is keen to make this work. With the support from Sainsbury’s, Kew has established the first Native Plant Research and Conservation Centre. This facility is developing native seed management and propagation protocols for rare native plants at large scale, and is currently acting as a training hub and a much-needed community resource.
Whether it’s asparagus or guava in your basket, you’ll know that the items you buy help promote sustainable farming for local communities abroad.