Story from the MyFoodStory website:


A farmer and gardener in Cameroon in the city of Bamenda who resides in the rural suburb of Bafut engages in permaculture in a bid to reduce the level of poverty in his rural area. Mr. Ngong Albert a native of this rural village says permaculture to him gives abundant results for minimal effort. He decided to abandon the idea of building his garden around familiar annuals such as lettuce, spinach, cabbages and peas. This happened when he learned about a whole group of perennial plants that have edible leaves, stems and other parts. These are known as perennial leaves or vegetables or leaf spinaches. Instead of the annual garden beds, these leafy plants adorn the house and its various pathways. These vegetables include sweet potatoes leaves, bitter melon ,garlic chives and other common ones like lettuce, spinach and peas. Many of these plants have medicinal as well as culinary utility for example comfrey leaves. Mr. Ngong Albert says there are thousands of plants with edible parts but most gardeners have tended to focus on just very few edible species which are short lived annuals such as lettuce, cabbage, spinach. He adds that adding lesser perennials to the garden contributes to diversity in the ecosystem and the diet. For most perennial vegetables, the best part to eat is the tender growing shoot on tip which includes the young leaves that have not yet matured and the soft growing shoots. Shoots can be harvested by snapping off the tender stem leaving the more mature and fibrous stem and leaves. Mature leaves can also be eaten but require long cooking.Just as any other food, eating too much perennial leaves is not good as it can have toxic effects or upset digestion. Mr. Ngong's garden space is now filled with thriving perennials which yield copious amounts of edible leaves but require almost no tending and are highly appealing. Comfort-ACTWID

Editor: Wendi Losha Bernadette

From the MyFoodStory website, storyteller Ngong Albert

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