- The Plate
6 Ways Food Is Immigration's Biggest Success Story
From avocados in Florida to sugarcane in South America, much of the world's food is grown in regions far from its original source.
Anyone who’s pondered the fact that Italian tomato sauce owes a botanical debt to Central America, where the fruits first evolved, knows that foods, like humans, do travel. Many foods have traveled because intrepid humans made it their mission to seek and return with the most delicious foods around the globe; witness the introduction of Corsican lemons and Chilean avocados to American soil, thanks to explorer David Fairchild.
Other foods have crossed borders because scientists saw value in documenting botanical diversity, a la the Soviet geneticist N.I. Vavilov. And still other foods have journeyed surreptitiously, carried along by migrating birds. But the next logical line of inquiry—Which foods? And how much? And between where?—has been left to speculation.
Researchers with the International