Research & Innovation
The 2BHealthy project was born from science research right here in the UK, using innovation to help move closer to our goals of improving our personal and planetary heath using more resilient food-systems.
Changing the narrative about our food system will change everyone's future for a healthier planet
Let's start by loosening our thinking with some optimistic food facts:
• As a nation, we are already shifting our diet. Surprise, surprise. We aren't dependent on gov't advice. Young (teens, 20s and 30s) and old (60s and 70s) age groups especially are already leading a shift to healthier eating in Greener Britain.
• People on lowest income know how to cook healthy food. Healthy food should not be exclusive. Everyone can learn how, or help by teaching others.
• Bananas, chocolate, coffee and tea are luxuries. They may be valued and relatively inexpensive, but they are also imported and not essential foods.
• Our favourite pulse is versatile and can be both British-grown and baked. Tinned navy beans in tomato sauce (i.e. everyones favourite baked bean in a tin) are made from imported ingredients. But we can grow them here and they can be cooked in a variety of ways (including replicating baked beans at home!). Importantly, these are only one type of bean amongst a diversity of others (cannellini, red & white kidney, black turtle and pinto are already familiar market types in Britain - and we're working on those too).
• British-grown beans can be convenient to store as a dry ingredient and cook when we need them. Cooking can be as simple as boiling water, just like for tea and cooking pasta.
The work done by the scientists at Warwick Crop Centre mean we're already well on our way to meeting our goal of inclusive, sustainable eating using British grown ingredients.
We started with beans because they're already well-loved, inclusive to most diets and the ideal candidate for improving our food system (because they're currently all imported from abroad and we know they could be grown right here).
But developing new crops takes time. To be a viable commercial food crop in the UK it needs to be registered as an official variety. Plus it needs to be bred not just to survive our climate, but to be harvested using standard farming equipment such as combine harvesters (it might grow well and taste good, but if it can't be harvested efficiently then it's not going to change the current food system). From breeding the first individual plant, to growing enough to have quality seed, AND becoming a viable commercial product takes many years (and a lot of hard work!).
Check out the timeline of the milestones for our first variety of bean, Capulet, below:
We've bean innovating since 2011. . .
2017. . . our first trial harvest by hand to collect quality seed
2018 . . . harvesting using a small
combine to replicate viability as a
2019 . . . harvesting as a food crop using a standard sized combine
The good news is that now we've started, we're already on our way to creating even more amazing new crops! We're aiming to produce a range of new market types, each bean with their own character.
Check out different varieties we've been developing (click for more details on each):
And it's not just about beans!
They'll taste even better with traditional British ingredients
Check out some of our favourites (click for more details on each):
Beyond breeding crops, we're also championing new developments in HOW we grow our food, such as the Natural Light Growing Centre...