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  • Monday, October 04, 2021
  • Tree Leaves — an Alternative Food Source

Though it may sound strange, people have been making tea from pine and other needles for a long time. Furthermore, one can grind up deciduous leaves, squeeze out the liquid, boil it, and skim off a protein- and nutrient-rich concentrate. 

David Denkenberger co-authored a new peer-reviewed article in the journal World Food Policy called “Global distribution of forest classes and leaf biomass for use as alternative foods to minimize malnutrition.” More work needs to be done on which species are safe to eat, but this could potentially alleviate current malnutrition in some areas. Furthermore, it could be advantageous in additional areas if there were disruption of food supply due to disasters or conflicts. In particular, Alaska imports about 90% of its food, so having backup food sources is prudent.


Birch and spruce trees. Photo by Amanda Byrd.