Vegetables and small fruits supply essential vitamins and minerals while adding variety and interest to the diet. Produce can also bring a high price in the market and provide additional household income. Vegetable use varies by region, culture, and social group. One of the first changes people make when they have more income is increasing the diversity in their diets, so you may observe more interest in vegetables and small fruits as families earn more.
Since vegetables and fruits are known to have a significant impact on health and nutrition, many people are interested in promoting their greater production and use. Many vegetables native to the tropics continue producing for months or years, and these treasures should not be overlooked in favor of temperate vegetables which must be continually replanted. This chapter features resources, perspectives, and information on growing the many vegetables and fruits which have proven themselves under difficult conditions in the tropics.