Dietary patterns change rapidly all over the world. The body of available local food knowledge, which forms the basis of many local traditions, is decreasing dramatically. At the same time, consumers demand novel types of tasty food, which is easy to prepare. In the Mediterranean, vegetables and salads made from wild greens have been particularly important as local (traditional) foods since ancient times. This double interest in local plant use and diets led to an ethnobotanical and socio-nutritional survey carried out in 2002 and 2003 among the inhabitants of the Graecanic area in Southern Calabria, Italy. The Graecanic area is part of the cultural and linguistic heritage of the Magna Graecia and the later Byzantine Empire. The villagers in the area have retained many aspects of this cultural heritage, including their own language Grecanico, in which wild edible greens are called ta chÃ²rta. The inhabitants of the Graecanic area regularly gather more than 40 wild food species. The present study demonstrates how the consumption of wild food plant species is strongly embedded in the local culture, and that they contribute to a healthy and balanced diet
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