In these days of vegan diets for ethical reasons we need to also look at the impact of eating ancient grains such as quinoa on the indigenous cultures that have traditionally grown them.
It is all well and good that people are choosing their diets for ethical reasons. That is one of the very reasons that I want to raise and grow my own food for my family. We are definitely not vegans here but there are still things that we look at to make our process more sustainable and healthy for the animals and plants that we raise. Here is where we differ from those who have to purchase their foods rather than grow them, do you really know where your food is coming from?
Most quinoa is grown in South America, specifically a little country called Bolivia that many people don’t even know where it is on a map. The amount of quinoa that is consumed in this country has dropped. As export of this wholesome ancient grain increases the indigenous people’s consumption decreases. They can no longer afford to buy what is a staple food source.
Then we run into the industrialization of this food product. There is now destruction of land to produce more quinoa. Haven’t those of us on the sustainable train been fighting against monocropping for years now? The destruction of the land costs biodiversity and healthy soil. Monocropping is destroying the genetic diversity of this ancient food source of the Bolivian people. It is affecting the very lives of the indigenous people.
As so often happens, western (caucasian/European) culture is appropriating someone else’s culture without thought to the long term effects. This is just one example of how you choose to eat affects other cultures. This is just one crop of many that are becoming globalized, mechanized, and industrialized. This is just one example of how corporate greed and brainwashing turns people with good intentions into the colonizers.
The next time you go to buy that bag of ancient grains check out the company selling it to you. Are they using sustainable practices? Are their farmers getting their fair share of the profits? Are the farmers able to put their own native crop on the table to feed their family?