You Eat What You Grow: Positive Links between Crop and Dietary Diversity in a Food-Limited Community

Sara Lopus, University of California, Berkeley

In the Global South, many food-insecure individuals have diets that rely heavily on starchy staples without sufficient vegetables, fruits, or proteins. Poor dietary diversity contributes to micronutrient malnutrition, which can have detrimental effects on later-life outcomes. In this research, I use data from Ibo Island, Mozambique, which lacks a year-round market in which to buy fresh produce. While the relationship between dietary diversity and health is well documented in the literature, the role for crop diversity in promoting dietary diversity is less understood, and recent research identified a relationship only at the village-level. This paper is unique in its identification of strong household-level links between crop diversity and child dietary diversity, which I verify is a strong predictor of child height. The findings paint an optimistic outlook for this and other remote Sub-Saharan African communities, where localized small-farming practices has the potential to improve household-level access to diverse foods.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Migration and Urbanization/Population, Development, and the Environment