Canadian DYK: Indigenous peoples used more than 500 plant species in their diets

Indigenous culture is the original "sourcing local"

Almost everybody knows about the three sisters (corn, beans and squash) when it comes to Indigenous food culture, but there are so many lesser known ingredients that indigenous people had in their diets before colonizers came to their land and disrupted their culture, including sunflowers, different types of lichens, marine algae, inner bark tissues of trees, and even sunchokes.

Some ingredients that we use today exclusively for their flavour would have had completely different uses in a traditional Indigenous diet years ago. In addition to foraging for nuts and hunting for animals, the greenery around them acted as a natural pharmacy. These traditional uses include using strawberry leaves for fevers and mouth problems, ginger root for earaches, chokecherry mixtures to cure colds, bronchitis and indigestion, along with hundreds of other plants.