We’ve quit quinoa in our house.
Without doubt you’ve adopted a look of horror, and are wondering if that’s a misprint. But no, dear reader, it’s true; quinoa is no longer on the menu.
After picking yourself back up off the floor, you may start to wonder WHY ON EARTH would I do such a thing. Don’t I know that quinoa is a SUPER food. All the celebrities eat it, and it’s an awesome source of protein. What am I thinking?!?!?!
A recent article in The Guardian kick started this change. The author wrote about the impact of global demand on the prices of quinoa in Bolivia and Peru, and the flow on effect this has on affordability of this staple grain in the region. Simply put, the price is so high now that those communities can no longer afford it. Once a cornerstone of nutrition for peasants in the region, quinoa is now sent for export to wealthy western nations leaving a major gap in the food source of the nations poor. To me, this is an unacceptable cost.
Further reading also revealed that the mad scramble to farm this ‘new’ wonder crop, is leading to the abandonment of traditional farming methods and poor environmental practices. Of concern is the reduction of llama farming, a key component in maintaining soil fertility in the highlands. Ironically by abandoning llamas, the soil loses its main fertilizer that gives quinoa its amazing nutritional value: manure.
I am so fortunate to live in a country that gives me access to a wide range of affordable, high quality foodstuffs. I don’t feel that quinoa offers me any nutritional value that I couldn’t easily obtain elsewhere. And when you factor in the cost of further impoverishing a nations poor and contributing to environmental damage, well frankly the cost becomes too high.