Closing the loop
for a Greener Britain
To be(an), or not to be(an) ?
On the question of health, British consumers of all ages are deciding the answer is yes. Increasingly, individuals are shifting their dietary habits, and as a consequence will have direct impact on planetary health.
The key word is 'shift '. Our challenge is not about taking sides or joining a tribe or set diet. We can all agree that a shift is needed! It's about making personal decisions to feel and to live better. It's about finding ways to adjust our life-styles around healthier eating.
The Inspiring Ingredient
The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris)
Small loops linking food preparers, consumers & producers can grow larger and replicate to help build stronger, more resilient food-systems that benefit individuals AND the planet.
DIETS ARE SHIFTING
Closed-loop food systems for healthier eating
Personal and planetary health go hand-in-hand and sustainable eating is on everyone's minds.
Living within our means doesn't have to mean losing flavour or paying for expensive ingredients, instead it needs us to bridge gaps in our food systems to connect consumers with producers and close the loop...
Closed-loop bean + veg soup that's cheap and easy to prepare
By taking everyday ingredients and substituting in locally grown produce where we can, we can close-the-loop and contribute to a healthier food system.
Check out our preparation tips and some recipe ideas for making tasty, cheap and healthy food.
About the project
The 2BHealthy project started in 2011 with the common or haricot bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), a popular source of plant-based protein and dietary fibre for humans the world over. It's an iconic ingredient in the UK diet.
Or is it? The surprising fact is that none of the traditional white navy beans currently consumed by British consumers (millions of tins every year) aren't actually grown here. The raw ingredient of dry beans are imported from countries like the USA, Canada and Ethiopia.
The project has been built from MAFF funded research in the 1970-80s. Scientists from Warwick University resurrected stored seed and have been working to develop new varieties of haricot beans in a spectrum of colours that can thrive in our climate and be a commercially viable crop. 'Capulet' and 'Godiva' are the first newly registered varieties of bean from this research and are currently being trialed with a commercial seed company on farms here in the UK.
The hope is that these humble beans will provide a new homegrown ingredient to help us shape the future of healthier eating in a Greener Britain. As a legume, it can help farmers put vital nitrogen back into the soil by a beneficial association with Rhizobium bacteria. As a food ingredient, it's nutritious (excellent source of prebiotic dietary fibre, protein and iron) and versatile in a wide menu of delicious recipes.
Closed-loop thinking starts with us, consumers, as active participants in our food system. Capulet and Godiva are faster-cooking, so more convenient to prepare at home from dry seeds instead of from tins. What's most exciting? These beans will combine well with a range of traditional British-grown vegetables like alliums (leeks, onions, garlic) and root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, beetroot); and with protected crops like tomatoes and chilies.
And for omnivores, what's better than combining British grown haricot beans with British produced cheese, sausage or egg?
We're just getting started, so current supply of URBEANS beans are limited, and not for sale as a commercial product.
However, we are focusing start-up projects with food preparers (chefs and bakers) who can help us experiment, as they develop their businesses to serve wholesome foods from homegrown ingredients and with a passion for planetary health.
Check out stories on the URBEAN EATING webpage.
What's in a name?
The 2BHealthy project originated at the Warwick Crop Centre located just outside of the historic town of Stratford-upon-Avon, famous for being the birthplace of Shakespeare. You might notice a few nods to the Bard along the way, including naming new varieties after characters from his plays.
The 2B refers to the two parent beans used to breed the early forms of Capulet, the flagship bean in our line-up, but also refers to the famous line in Hamlet "To be or not to be?"