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2021 – UN International Year of Fruits and Vegetables

The United Nations has declared 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV) as a way to raise awareness of the vital role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition and food security.

A young grandson helping his grandfather around the garden.

The UN wants to inspire garden projects to promote fruits and vegetables.


For Health and Sustainability

IYFV 2021 was proclaimed in a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 19, 2019, and is part of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2025) and the UN decade of Family Farming (UNDFF 2019-2028). Together, these observances bring a spotlight to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Awareness and Education

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), an agency of the UN, takes the lead in the celebration of the year. It has determined four lines of action for the year:

  1. Advocacy and awareness: To raise awareness of the nutritional, social, economic, and environmental benefits of fruits and vegetables, and to advocate the integration of their cultivation in governmental agendas.
  2. Stimulate knowledge: To improve understanding of how fruit and vegetable systems contribute to the economy, society, and environmental sustainability of developing and developed countries.
  3. Policymaking: To encourage policymaking for economic growth, food safety, and the promotion of diverse and healthy diets, to stimulate cooperation in the public/private sector, and to inspire innovation and infrastructure development.
  4. Education: To help educational literature and programs like school gardens, food literacy, and urban gardens, and promote the benefits of fruits and vegetables. Also, to empower women and youth through knowledge building in growing, including production, processing, and marketing.

Why Do We Eat Fruits and Vegetables?

Fruits and vegetables should be a large part of the human diet, but as our society has become more and more industrialized, our intake of processed foods has increased.

Fruit and vegetables not only taste great but are a great source of vitamins and minerals like folate, vitamin C, and potassium. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, and a diet high in fruit and vegetables can help protect you against cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Fruits Come From Flowers

So what is the difference between fruits and vegetables? Botanically, the main difference is that fruits develop from the flower of a plant and contains seeds, while vegetables can also be the roots, stems, and leaves of a plant.

But, most of us don't consider a tomato or an avocado fruit. We tend to differentiate between fruits and vegetables by taste. Fruits often have a sweeter and tangier flavor, while vegetables are milder.

Topics: UN Year