The choices we make when snacking can and do have a bigger environmental impact because not all crops are created equal. Corn crops are bad for the environment because they degrade soil quality over time, and require many pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers to ensure a successful yield. This runoff finds its way into streams and rivers, affecting other life forms. Wheat farming requires the use of fertilizers, often made of chemicals such as methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and nitrogen. Over 100 million tons of fertilizer are used annually for wheat farming, and experts calculate this accounts for 43% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate change is disrupting weather patterns essential for the success of India’s rain-fed agriculture. Research has shown that agriculturers are under stress from shifting planting seasons and rainfall patterns, the rise in averaging temperatures, and extreme weather events like severe droughts and floods. This, combined with years of ecologically harmful agricultural practices, is making the business of agriculture much more difficult for small scale farmers. Years of using technologies like fertilizers, pesticides, tractors, and high-yielding seed varieties have depleted water and soil resources over time. Crops like wheat, corn, and rice require a lot of water and, after a few years, strip the soil of all nutrients rendering it unsuitable for further harvests.
As the global climate crisis is further recognized, regenerative, traditional, and organic farming practices are becoming more desirable. Our wish is to see the agriculture industry practice more climate-friendly agricultural practices like reducing fertilizer use and tilling less. Like rotating and diversifying the crops they plant to ones that are more locally suitable, like makhana (popped water lily seeds), thus maintaining natural resources and allowing the soil time to replenish itself naturally of nutrients.
Makhana are a sustainable crop, and therefore a sustainable choice. Because of where the prickly water lily plant grows, it does not require using massive inputs of water and energy to ensure a successful yield. Makhana, often called fox nuts, are grown without the use of pesticides, fungicides, or fertilizers, as these things actually damage the plant and the waters where they grow. They are a local crop, suited to the India climate, and our work with the village where our makhana farm is located in Bihar, India ensures that they will be able to continue their regenerative and traditional farming practices.
The health of our planet is in critical condition. Our current rate of consumption and modus operandi is failing us. We're in control of our snacking and we are choosing to snack sustainably.