All tree croppers will know the Monty Surprise apple, and the work Mark Christensen has done to determine the nutrient value of various apples. He was awarded the Don Mackenzie award in 2006. Current research includes comparison of peaches and plums, tomatoes, beans and conserving the ancient grains. Mark will give an update on the research including work on apples, plums and peaches, Ancient wheat as well as vegetables.
Mark Christensen is a Trustee and the Research Director of the Heritage Food Crops Research Trust. He has spent the past 16 years researching the potential for heritage apple varieties to prevent cancer. This research discovered the Monty’s Surprise high health apple and also prompted research into the health benefits of heirloom tomato varieties. The tomato research has found rare heirloom varieties with a bioavailable form of lycopene that should improve long term health outcomes. Other crops looked at are plums, peaches, pears, grapefruit, potatoes, carrots, capsicum, wheat and beans.
The Heritage Food Crops Research Trust is a community-based charitable Trust based in Whanganui devoted to discovering the benefits of medicinal foods. The Trust aims to improve the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders through the consumption of high health targeted foods that contain specific compounds of benefit for the maintenance of health and the prevention of disease.
Research: The Trust grows crops to provide for testing. It commissions and collaborates with scientists investigating the health potential of these crops.
Horticulture: Cultivating and processing crops is carried out by a team of 12 volunteers at the Trust’s orchard and gardens, and by people working on their own properties.
Community Action: The Trust is at heart a wellness initiative. Its mission is to educate and empower people to grow and consume the most beneficial food crops, so they become more resistant to disease.