UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has higlighted in a recent blog post that as you walk through its aisles you might be surprised to find that some of its 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 our partnership with Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, a world famous center for botanical and mycological knowledge, as we develop the idea of ‘conservation through use’.
“We’re really proud of our work around this idea, which 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.
“For example, we’ve been able to introduce nitrogen-fixing trees, like Acacia species, to sufficiently improve the soil quality to grow everything from maize and Lima beans, through to guavas and cottons.
“Thanks to its success, we’ve already seen attention from across Peru and the whole community is keen to make this work. That’s why we’re delighted to say that, thanks to 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.”
The retailer said that at the heart of this lies its commitment to ensuring that its sourcing “does not have a negative impact on the local environment or communities,”
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, Sainsbury’s said.