Geophagy: Eating What?

dirt cookies  10558

Many poor people in Haiti eat dirt. Yep, dirt. Women mix it with shortening and salt, then shape it into round cakes and dry the cakes in the sun (above left). Kathlyn Gay, author of TFCB’s new Fall 2012 title Food: The New Gold (cover above right), talks about this practice along with a wide range of related global food issues. Among many topics, she covers staggering global hunger statistics (more people die of hunger than of AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined), poverty and access to food, food aid, conventional versus sustainable agriculture, CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations), climate change and its impact on food supplies, genetically engineered food, foodborne illnesses and prevention, and more. She also covers the many ways in which people around the world are working creatively to make sure healthy, affordable food is available to everyone. Any city dwellers out there with chickens in the backyard?

To learn more about those Haitian dirt cookies, check out this short CNN video. (The screen is black, but go ahead and click the arrow and the video will pop up.)

Haitian mud cakes (1 min 35 sec)

And before you rush to judgment, read this fascinating article from  Science Daily about how eating dirt (aka geophagy) might just be good for you. Say what? According to a Cornell study last year, data suggests that eating dirt may actually protect the stomach against toxins, parasites, and pathogens. And, the practice is thousands of years old and crosses all cultures. That’s food for thought. Or should we say, dirt for thought?

Check in again in two weeks for more from TFCB!