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Discovery Magazine 9/1/2002

The Incredible, Edible Plant

It’s 7 o’clock Monday morning, and your summer vacation is over.  Now it’s time to get ready for school. You start by rolling back your sheets and crawling out of that nice warm bed. You throw on a pair of blue jeans, a red T-shirt, and white socks. Your mom calls you into the kitchen where you grab a box of your favorite cereal, Loopy Fruits. You realize that you are running a little late, so you jump on your bike and race down the sidewalk toward school. This seems like an average school-day morning, but in these usual activities is hidden the importance of plants.

Not only do plants help build the natural world—forests, prairies and oceans—but plants also help us build our modern world. Did you recognize all the places where plants were a part of your morning routine? They were in the wood for your house and bed, the fiber for your sheets and clothes, the pigments to give color to your fabrics, part of your kitchen floor, the rubber for your bike tires, and in anything made of paper or cardboard. At school you sit on them, write with them, read from them, eat them, and walk on them. They provide the building blocks for shelter, transportation, clothing, food, and entertainment.

From the third day of creation until the present, plants have played a marvelous and essential role on Earth. Not only do they give us beautiful yards and wonderful parks, but plants are vital for our survival. Plants enable our atmosphere to maintain the right balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide, which is absolutely necessary for living creatures. Equally important is their crucial role as a basic food source. Plants are known as “primary producers,” which means they hold the position at the bottom of the food chain. From tiny insects to the huge elephant, plants provide nutrients to a growing world. Obviously, we recognize plants in a salad, but plants are a key part of a variety of products from bread and cereal to mustard and ketchup.

These are some examples of how important the wonderful world of plants is to our lives. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:19 that “God shall supply all your needs.” When we thank God in our prayers, we need to remember the “incredible, edible plant.”

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