Coronavirus is driving a boom in bean sales. Can this help improve soil health and reduce the need for chemicals on farms?
According to the New York Times this weekend, bean sales are booming as people stock up on them in response to the pandemic ("A Boom Time for the Bean Industry," The New York Times, March 22, 2020).
We've noticed empty shelves in local grocery stores; dried beans have a long shelf life so they are a good item to keep in your "disaster kit."
What the article doesn't mention - but fans of regenerative agriculture know - is that legumes are a "nitrogen-fixing" crop, meaning they absorb nitrogen from the atmosphere and inject it into the soil.
And most other crops *love* nitrogen.
So, as part of a cover crop rotation, farms can plant edible beans such as kidneys, pintos, lentils, etc, to reduce the overall need for additive chemical fertilizers.
So perhaps the more legumes we eat, the more farmers will deploy them as cover crops.
This is only possible if we actually eat the beans and buy more, regularly!
What's your favorite recipe for dried beans? Share it below!
p.s. Here's the NY Times article: