Food Politics: The Questionable Ethics of Quinoa
As a Registered Dietician, Alysa Bajenaru explores the healthful benefits of natural foods, such as quinoa but increasingly, ethical questions have risen around this delightful edible seed. She turned to a fellow dietician and friend, Andy Bellatti, to explain some of the questionable politics around this popular 'hippie food' and what it means for farmers in South America:
As we know from good-old “supply and demand”, this means quinoa farmers – most of whom live in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador – can now charge a lot more for this crop than in years past. This also, however, means that since quinoa exports are so lucrative, most farmers prefer to sell the nutrient-dense pseudograin than eat it themselves. Meanwhile, individuals of low socio-economic income in these countries who once easily afforded quinoa – their staple food – have now been priced out. What’s replacing quinoa? Refined grains and sugars, mostly.