(1) NATIVE EDIBLE PLANTS: Indigenous Californians ate nearly 1000 Native food plants. When Europeans came, the life expectancy of Native Californians and Europeans was similar except Native people had better skin, teeth and disposition. They also spent far less time and expense providing for themselves and their families, as California was so rich in plant life.
(2) PERENNIAL FOOD PLANTS: These plants are high on the pyramid because they require fewer resources to produce abundant food for many many years.
(3) DROUGHT TOLERANT FOOD PLANTS: These plants will continue to be far more significant in the human diet in the 21st Century. These are some of the plants that are compatible with our local soils and Mediterranean climate. They are native to California, Western and Central North America. Others are native to other drought susceptible regions of the world.
(4) NITROGEN FIXING PLANTS: These are the most special category of plants because of two reasons. First, they fix nitrogen in the soil. In regenerative agriculture, nitrogen fixing plants are used to replace tilling and chemical fertilizer application. Secondly, they are grown for food, not just cover crops. In the Blue Zones Project, they studied communities worldwide that had the largest populations of people living past 100 years old. The common food plant that each community most frequently ate was some species of beans.
(5) SUPERFOODS: These plants have the highest levels of nutrients and caloric value compared to other plants. Selecting more superfoods can assure a well balanced diet of minerals, vitamins, micronutrients and phytochemicals. Many of the plant foods in our pyramid are already superfoods, including all of the Native edible plants. But this band includes a few more.
(6) COMFORT FOODS: These are the fruits and veggies that most of us grew up eating. They will always be a part of our diet. Unfortunately, these plants have also been the most altered by chemical agriculture. Because so many of these plants are grown and eaten, we have naturally eliminated other food plants from our diet which may be healthier for us to eat. Other choices have simply not been available. So most Americans diet includes less than 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables.