It’s not often we’re left speechless, but we are in awe of this incredible man.
Meet Bruce French, on a mission to end world hunger one plant at a time.
The agricultural scientist, 54, has created a database to catalogue every edible plant on earth in the hope that the free and accessible information can prevent malnutrition.
With an impressive 31,170 plants so far, Bruce has spent five decades adding to his extensive list by focusing on edibles that contain protein, iron, vitamins A and C and zinc.
Speaking about his venture, the Australian native said he’s not interested in “fame or fortune” and simply wants to help “hungry kids not die before they get to school”.
The idea came to Bruce while teaching agriculture in Papua New Guinea after students became bored learning of western plants and wanted to understand their native produce.
He explained: “I knew nothing about those, so I had to learn them. And I just kept going. What about the next country, and the next country?”
Deborah French, Bruce’s wife and partner in his food project, added: “It’s really getting them [the students] to look and learn what their local plants are because often they are much more nutritious than introduced ones.”
Consequently, the couple continue their mission to highlight the powerful nutrients grown in the developing world where malnutrition is rife, yet where western foods are preferred.
In particular, cabbages have been distributed in Kenya despite them filling children’s stomachs with empty calories and little room for anything else.
Instead, the French dream team are encouraging organisations to experiment with local cassava leaves and amaranth which are loaded with iron.
Thanks to inspiring AOG World Relief Vietnam, who work in rural areas with large numbers of malnourished kids, the database helped set up 16 gardens near schools.
Speaking about the initiative, project manager Rebekah Windsor said: “Malnutrition rates are dropping, enrolments are going up, kids staying in school is going up because before, kids would only stay until lunchtime then go home and most wouldn’t come back after.”
She added that the Vietnamese students and their families are encouraged to learn that the root is often more valuable than other parts of the plant so they can understand where the nutrients come from and how to access as much of them as possible.