Walking down the sidewalk near downtown Grand Rapids Mi, my wife and I saw large amounts of beautiful, healthy Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) growing along a fence line.
On the same walk, we saw a couple homeless men shading themselves under a bridge and a woman on the corner panhandling. I don’t know their stories and I’m sure they have many. One story of which I’m sure they can tell has to do with finding food. I can hear people now talk about their bad choices, alcoholism or that the panhandler makes more money then they do. Maybe, I don’t know, but this I do know. Most Americans are just one financial disaster away from shading themselves under a bridge or asking strangers for handouts.
Something else I’m aware of. 1 of 7 people in Kent County, where Grand Rapids is located, and 1 in 5 children, are nutritionally hungry. On our walk, not only did we see Purslane, but also Wild Lettuce, Dandelion, Chicory, Lambs Quarters, Wood Sorrel, Wild Grape Vines and Plantain. Probably more that I don’t remember, all of which are nutritionally superior to most vegetables at the grocery store.
So why are people still struggling with the most basic of needs? I would surmise that most of the reasons have to do with lost knowledge. Our ancestors knew about those sources of nutrients and they took advantage of them.
Look at the following chart that shows the nutritive value per 100 g of Purslane. That equals about 3.5 oz for those of us not familiar with grams. I challenge you to find better results for the same amount of any vegetable in the store.
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Table 1: Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) (Nutritive value per 100 g).
|Principle||Nutrient value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.1 g||0.5%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.036 mg||1%|
|Vitamin A||1320 IU||44%|
|Vitamin C||21 mg||35%|
Source: USDA National Nutrient data.