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Microgreens for Global Nutrition Security

Downsizing greens could be a way to meet global nutrition security.

Planter full of microgreens

Rock-star chefs just love pulling out the tweezers to garnish their dishes with microgreens. Now, the vegetable confetti is being heralded as a way to better meet the nutritional needs of a growing planet.

Microgreens are tiny versions of vegetables and herbs—items like radish, kale, basil and red cabbage—that have not yet hit maturity but are at the stage where they have two unfurled seed leaves (called cotyledons).

As detailed in a project titled, “Food Resilience in the Face of Catastrophic Global Events,” an international team of researchers believes microgreens can be grown in a variety of soilless production systems in small Twist and Sprout spaces indoors, with or without artificial lighting. That means people in various countries can produce fresh vegetables that are dense in nutrients and antioxidants in a short growing cycle. That’s true even in areas that are considered poor growing regions for other crops. It’s a benefit that might become even more relevant as climate change upsets the agricultural framework of certain areas of the world.

According to a paper published in Acta Horticulturae, the journal of the International Society for Horticultural Science, it could be possible to produce micro-vegetables that address specific dietary needs or micronutrient deficiencies.

See also: Food Insecurity Is Growing Globally

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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