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Beans are the most international of all the vegetables in Robbins Farm Garden. They are also regarded by many as the most "musical," a fact reflected in a schoolyard jingle most of us have sung at one time or another:

Beans, beans, the musical fruit
The more you eat them,
the more you toot

We'll come back to beans' musicality in a moment. But first let's talk about their impressive internationality.

Beans' Internationality

Most of the veggies in Robbins Farm Garden got their start in one location of the world or another. Taken as a group, they make up a little United Nations of edible plants.

But with beans, that fact applies just to the beans themselves, all on their own. As a group, beans are their own smaller U.N.

There are more than a dozen different major types of beans. Different types made their beginnings in different locations around the globe. Some started in Africa. Others came up around the Mediterranean Sea. Still others come from the Near East, and others from the Far East. Some began in India, and others in Central and South America.

The picture at the right shows the different places where 11 of most common types of beans got started.

A key part of low meat diets

Because they contain lots of protein, beans often play a big role in the eating patterns of people who follow low meat diets. A combination of rice and beans, eaten together, can supply you with the same assortment of proteins that you get from eating meat.

Some people also see beans as more friendly to the environment than most forms of meat. They require much less energy to produce. Their production also introduces much less in the way of global warming gases into the atmosphere.

About that musicality

That ditty we cited above — about how "the more you eat them, the more you toot — is, in the experience of many, not really true. People who eat beans on a fairly regular basis often experience less of the so-called tooting problem than people who eat them only rarely.

It is believed by some that eating beans on a fairly regular basis makes our digestive tract a more hospitable place to the kind of bacteria who help us digest beans more thoroughly. They believe that beans more often means toots less often. So if you're worried about the toots — and not everyone is — you might think about eating beans a bit more often rather than less.