You know that beans are delicious, but did you know that they’re one of the world’s oldest domesticated plants, one of the world’s most sustainable sources of protein and an inexpensive way to feed our hungry planet? Recently, the National Public Radio program “On Point with Tom Ashbrook” covered the surprisingly fascinating history of beans. Beans have long been a source of nutrition on almost every continent on the globe, from soybeans in Asia to pinto beans in North America to white beans in Europe.

But increasingly today, beans are more than just a tasty dish: They’re a sustainable, healthy alternative to meat. It takes 16 pounds of grain to produce a single pound of beef, and hundreds of gallons of water. On the other hand, beans just need water, a little fertilizer and sunshine to grow, not expensive grain.

It was definitely food for thought. Click here to hear the full program, and tell us what you found most fascinating about the show! Did you learn any new recipes you’re dying to try?