The Crop Series - Case Studies

Image removed.

If you have been following the launch of Chefs’ Manifesto Podcast Season 3, you will know that this season is entirely focused on six resilient, diverse and delicious crops! In collaboration with the Crop Trust and Food Forever, the Chefs’ Manifesto is publishing six accompanying Case Studies, delving deeper into the stories and histories of these six crops, bookended with relevant statistics and calls to action. You will learn about how these crops can positively impact our food systems and how each os uf can act to protect biodiversity and help transform our food systems.

The case studies are based on the knowledge of chefs and experts from all around the globe who contribute to reshaping our food system by championing sustainable foods and techniques in their kitchens and restaurants every day. Each case study includes stories based on in-depth interviews with the chefs and experts who also appeared in the podcast episodes. The case studies were conducted and written by Jules Mercer.

Release dates: from 13 April, a new case study will be released each Tuesday morning at 10:30am BST


The Crop Trust – our partner for this Podcast & Case Studies Series

Crop TrustFood Forever LogoWith more than 15 years working globally to safeguard our agricultural biodiversity, the Crop Trust has been a strong advocate for greater long-term resilience in our food systems. Through an endowment fund, the Trust is working with partners to secure the most important international, regional and national collections of crop diversity in perpetuity, as well as the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the world's backup facility for seeds. Crop diversity is a prerequisite for food security. Without the plethora of strains and varieties of our crops safely stored in seed banks, our food systems will have lost essential genetic traits and therefore, valuable options to face the enormous challenges of a growing population, a rapid process of land degradation in the most vulnerable and food insecure areas of the world, and of course, a changing climate. Within this agrobiodiversity we can find crops with the most astounding traits, from greater resistance to drought, strong winds or salinity, to higher nutritional content. In short, the Crop Trust's work comes down to one simple vision: ensuring the basis of our food is safeguarded, forever. The Crop Trust, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other partners started the Food Forever Initiative in 2017 to raise awareness on the importance of safeguarding agrobiodiversity to build resilient food systems.


Case Studies


Case study 1: Potato – the prolific tuber

Download Case Study 1 and all other Case Studies as individual pages or as a print & fold version (overview of documents for download at the bottom of the page). 

PotatoDiscover everything you didn’t yet know about the potato. All the benefits and potential this crop has to offer and how to buy, cook and consume it properly. Chef Janice Casey Bracken and Chef Diego Oka talk about the importance of growing and buying potatoes locally, how more than 4,000 species are overlooked and could help feed our global population. Expert Alejandro Argumedo, Program Director from Asociacion ANDES, talks more about the fantastic diversity of potatoes in Peru, home of around 7,000 varieties of potatoes, and the importance that the country gives to safeguard this biodiversity.

“Each chef is unique and has a different ambition. If you can keep it simple and respect your producers and surroundings, you are already doing a lot to help food systems. Local produce is there to be championed. Even for us – an international restaurant chain with Peruvian roots – it is possible to celebrate and identify with the Peruvian culture while, at the same time, sourcing food locally and responsibly.” Chef Diego Oka


Case Study 2: Sorghum – the camel of crops

Download Case Study 2 and all other Case Studies as individual pages or as a print & fold version (overview of documents for download at the bottom of the page)

SorghumHave you ever heard of sorghum, and if so, do you know how to prepare it? In this case study you’ll learn about one of the crops with the most potential for positive impact on the food system and global production chain. You’ll also learn more about the story and cultural background of this crop with Meymuna Hussein-Cattan, founder of the Tiyya Foundation, who travelled from Ethiopia to the US, learned a lot about the benefits of sorghum with its high protein properties in low-income areas. From Kenya, Chef Ali Mandhry talks to us about the importance of educating farmers to cook sorghum. Smallholders often rely on what they grow but sometimes don't know how to use it themselves. Our expert for this case study, Dr. Eva Weltzien-Rattunde, highlights that sorghum is one of the stronger grains out there and can be very beneficial in arid areas impacted by the climate crisis.

“Given the large variety of types, sorghum is a very important crop for small-scale farmers living in arid or low-quality soil areas. When using sorghum grains in the kitchen, it is therefore important to remember that you are supporting producers who do not have many other options.” Dr. Eva Weltzien-Rattunde


Case study 3: Coffee – the diversity of our daily grind

Download Case Study 3 and all other Case Studies as individual pages or as a print & fold version (overview of documents for download at the bottom of the page)

CoffeeEveryone knows coffee, but did you know that we all drink coffee sourced from only two varieties of beans amongst hundreds? This case study delves deeper into the topic of coffee bean production chains and shares strong and impactful stories. You’ll also learn more about the significance of coffee in different parts of the world. Read more from Chef Daniel Kaplan and Chef Aylin Yazicioglu, and learn from experts Dr. Sarada Krishnan and Dr. Rolando H. Cerda.

“Paying the right amount and making sure the traceability leads back to the farmer is just one of the sustainability issues. Another is water. The production of coffee is water-intense. There are new approaches being used that need less water, and we are very interested in supporting companies that have a considered watch on water waste.” Chef Daniel Kaplan


Case study 4: Sweet potato – the root to health

Download Case Study 4 and all other Case Studies as individual pages or as a print & fold version (overview of documents for download at the bottom of the page)

Sweet PotatoSweet potato is a fantastic crop and nowadays very popular globally. But it is also an essential crop that billions of people rely on due to its nutritious properties. This case study shares a scientific view on the key role that sweet potato plays in Africa and low-income countries. Chef Kiran Jethwa is convinced that all existing sweet potato species must be valued and Chef Yi Wen gives innovative advice on how to reduce food waste using sweet potato.

Dr. Maria Andrade provides a more context-specific analysis of the role of sweet potato:

“The crop is grown by many small-scale farmers, with an interesting focus on both the nutritional value and increasing yields: both of which are essential to their livelihoods. Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes' efficacy is based on the high concentration of pro-vitamin A in orange fleshed storage roots with high levels of bio-accessibility through local diets.”


Case study 5: Millets – climate smart seeds of the future

Download Case Study 5 and all other Case Studies as individual pages or as a print & fold version (overview of documents for download at the bottom of the page)

MilletMillet has an understated role in our food systems, it mustn’t be ignored. The stories, recipes and knowledge that are shared in this case study give readers the opportunity to learn about a game-changing crop with great properties which should have a place in every kitchen. Chef Vanshika Bathia and Chef Mokgadi Itsweng advocate for the switch we must make to add millets to our diets. Dr. Shivali Sharma also assesses the importance of changing our dietary habits.

“These plants are packed with nutrients, often less processed and incredibly good for us. I would like to see more of them on the shelves - in particular sorghum and millets! Can you believe that most of the millets on the shelves of stores are for animal feeding?” Chef Mokgadi Itsweng


Case study 6: Wheat - our great grain  

Download Case Study 6 and all other Case Studies as individual pages or as a print & fold version (overview of documents for download at the bottom of the page)

WheatWheat is one of the most produced crops globally, so why should we talk about it? This case study showcases the importance of rethinking our ways of growing, producing, exporting and consuming wheat to change our food systems.

Chef Eduardo Garcia and Chef Sahar Parham Al Awadhi highlight that wheat has a main role to play in food systems, but must be produced more smartly. Dr. Fillipo Bassi underlines the fact that producers only produce what the consumers want and that people must act in order to reshape our food systems:

“As breeders, we are trying to develop the next type of varieties that will not only ensure more production to feed the rising global population, but also do so in a more sustainable way, with more nutritious food, and at the same time capable of withstanding climate change adaptation.” Dr. Fillipo Bassi


Case Study 1:

Case Study 2:

Case Study 3:

Case Study 5:



Other ressources: