Can Vegans Stomach the Unpalatable Truth About Quinoa? One of my coworkers recently sent me this article from The Guardian. I've noticed quinoa popping up on grocery shelves and restaurant menus alike for the past couple years. I've read, here and there, about its health benefits (High in protein! Not Fattening! Powerfood vegetable seed!) but I never stopped to wonder where it comes from—let alone ponder the repercussions of its burgeoning popularity.
As the article explains, "The appetite of countries such as ours [Great Britain] for this grain has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it. Imported junk food is cheaper. In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken."
This article made me pause to think about my food choices, especially trendy health-foody things like edamame and acai berries. How does what I eat affect other people? It really strikes me that when I go to the store I have choices—literally thousands of products, from all over the world—and I always make my decisions based on me: my health, my tastes, my budget. Time to start broadening my scope for decision-making in the supermarket.
Do you think people should use geography to inform their food choices? Why? How can you do that?
Jessica, I too just read an article on Yahoo News about Quinoa and how Natives can't afford their staple food and I have been pondering that question for the past 48 hours. I think it is really important for the rest of the world to understand where our food comes from and how it negatively affects others. I'm trying to figure out how we can help producers of the product understand that it is alright to charge the locals less money for their native plant. I think people can get so money hungry and forget about the things that matter. I am glad that the Internet has brought issues like this to our attention so we can stand up for people that don't have a voice. Keep spreading the news.
After researching more on how I can help, I came across this article titled "If you like quinoa, asparagus, or free trade, read this", that went into more details about the crop Quinoa and how it has impacted the global market. It is interesting to read different people's opinions. This might promote students to consider their view point on free trade.
Hi Tammy, Thank you so much for sharing this link. I was particularly struck by the part that explained the violence that has occurred as people try to claim quinoa farmland. Interesting, too, that the article mentioned how now 70% of high school graduates can now afford to go to college. It's crazy how the cost of food in one place can have so many ripple effects all over the world.