Hi Emilia and Everyone,
Emilia asked about sources for Mucuna bean and info on less toxic varieties.
ECHO at 17391 Durrance Road, North Fort Myers, FL 33917 USA has done research with this cover crop throughout the world. Their telephone number is 239-543-3246 and their web site is http://www.echonet.org/shopsite_sc/store/html
(between site and sc is either an underline or a hyphen--try both).
The Belize Development Trust, working with ECHO, published a report in December 2001 that answers many questions about the use of the Mucuna. To see a copy of the report (#455) go to www.google.com and type in a search for "THE VELVET BEAN IS A GREAT COVER CROP WITH CORN."
An excerpt on the dangers of eating large quantities of the beans:
"It is ...better to make use of velvet bean than to suffer hunger or protein malnutrition. Is the food situation a lot less desperate than that, but people still do not have enough to eat? If so, consider using velvet beans in moderation and not every day. Are there plenty of alternative sources of protein? If so, do not eat the velvet beans. Velvet bean coffee has a lot of dopa in it. It should not be consumed regularly."
ECHO distributes two varieties of Velvet bean and probably has information on more.
Congratulations, Emilia, on finding a place where you can teach.
Larry, I agree with Justin that your Fukuoka website should fan out to many of the links that are discussed our archives (though these need to be tested before being listed; I see some of mine--for example about the Desert Project in Israel--no longer work).
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