A Reason to Think Twice Before Grabbing That Bag of Quinoa

by Tess Duncan

Vegans and vegetarians alike have been freaking out over quinoa for years now, and for good reason! It’s tasty and a great meat alternative, providing you with a ton of protein and other essential nutrients. And it’s low in fat! Everybody’s happy. Or so you might think.

Quinoa munchers might not know that the crop is a staple for countries like Peru and Bolivia. Due to its recent popularity, prices have skyrocketed over the past few years. Many of its usual customers in these countries cannot afford the rising cost of quinoa. In Lima, Peru, quinoa is now more expensive than chicken.

This sad correlation brings our attention to the damaging effect of our reliance on imported foods. Although many consumers mean well, with a goal of ethics and sustainability in mind, these devastating results show that our local food security needs to be prioritized. A few years back, the Fife Diet, a European local food initiative, attempted to sow a crop of quinoa. Although it failed, the project demonstrates the importance of seeking ways to grow food on our own land, rather than rely on imports from other countries, especially those with higher poverty rates.

Some people have gotten the memo. Hodmedod’s is a British company that produces fava beans (used in falafel) in the UK as a meat substitute. We can only hope that we’ll be seeing more companies like these spring up in the near future. Until then, you may want to keep your quinoa consumption on the DL. Literally.

Source: The Guardian

Photos via TheKitchn.com, AlterEcoFoods.com, and SergioPhoto.com.

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