The Heritage Food Crops Research Trust (HFCRT) is a charitable trust, established to research the early prevention and treatment of disease through the medicinal properties of plant-based food. The Trust is embedded in its Whanganui community, with a vision of helping members of the local and wider global communities to enhance their health and quality of life.
Throughout the world there are local forms of fruits, grains and vegetables that have recognised superior health benefits, based on robust research. The Trust’s role has been to identify and research local varieties, particularly heritage ones, for prospective benefits. It has also imported a range of traditional cultivars for assessment. Using the Trust’s Whanganui facilities as a base, research has in particular focused on the following food crops, apples and tomatoes, two of the most widely consumed foods in the world.
The Trust’s belief is that, through the research and selection of suitable varieties, food can be used to prevent disease and encourage wellness. It is working to identify dietary options that may prove to be low-cost anti-cancer strategies. Specific foods may contain bioactive compounds that target hereditary cancer cells and prevent them from initiating a disease process or limiting their rate of proliferation. Already research initiated through the Trust has led to the identification of natural food compounds of particular benefit. These include the high levels of cancer-fighting properties in a unique seedling apple variety discovered by the Trust, and in certain golden/orange heritage tomatoes. As a result, the Trust is able to recommend simple dietary changes that anyone can take to reduce their susceptibility to chronic diseases such as cancer.
Further information on the philosophy of the Trust to health issues can be found here.