VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has encouraged people to have resilience in the fight against world hunger, drawing inspiration from the hardiness of legumes.

“I invite you to develop our art, to be vigorous and resilient like legumes, and to unite to end hunger once and for all,” the pope said in a written message on Feb. 12.

The message was sent to participants in a virtual event organized by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to mark the Feb. 10 World Day of Legumes.

“Lentils, beans, peas, or chickpeas can be found on the tables of many families since they manage to satisfy varied protein needs in our daily diets,” the pope said. “Legumes are a noble food with enormous potential to enhance food security worldwide.”

Pope Francis praised legumes, saying that they “lack pride and do not reflect luxury, while they are an essential component of healthy diets.”

They are a simple and nutritious food with the power to overcome geographical and cultural barriers, he said, in the message signed by Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican secretary for relations with states.

Decrying the “deadly scourge” of hunger in many parts of the world, he urged countries to “feed everyone in a healthy way, so that everyone has the same opportunities and we can build an inclusive and just world.”

Pope Francis also referenced the Latin root of the word “legumes,” which he said is “legumen.”

The Latin word “refers to the fruits or pods, which are harvested not by reaping but by pulling the plants by hand,” he said, emphasizing the importance of the rural workers who harvest these plants.

He also highlighted the fact that many of these workers are women, and said that “specifically, rural women and indigenous women have much to teach us about how effort and sacrifice allow us to build…”

He added: “Let’s imitate the beautiful and good acts of those rural women who do not give up their mission of feeding their children and the children of other families.”

“We value the commitment to feel part of the common home where there should be room for everyone, without ruling out anyone,” he said.