The Global Fool

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The Golden Grain of the Andes: Are You Ready to Cook?
Dec04

The Golden Grain of the Andes: Are You Ready to Cook?

By The Editors The Golden Grain of the Andes — quinoa — is being praised all around the world. Indeed, the year 2013 is “The International Year of the Quinoa”, which celebrates not only quinoa, but also the indigenous peoples of the Andes, who have maintained, controlled, protected and preserved quinoa as food for present and future generations, thanks to their traditional knowledge and practices of living in harmony with nature.   A few days ago, in a speech dedicated to the introduction of “Quinoa in the Kitchen“, José Graziano da Silva (FAO Director-General), said “Quinoa is part of the effort to recover these lost foods and to promote traditional and forgotten crops. It is also part of the idea that food is not only a commodity. It is a lot more than that. It is also culture, it is also taste, it is also a lot of things that are closely related to our history,” According to the new publication “Quínoa is apparently flawless: it’s a food packed with protein and energy and, at the same time, is very easy to digest; post-harvest processing requires a lot of hard work, but, once it’s ready to sell, Quinoa is easy to keep, just as easy to cook and fast enough too for the pace of contemporary living. It’s also very versatile and, just like “real” cereals, can play different roles — in salads and side-dishes, in soups, patties and bread. And in its zones of origin it’s even used to make a chicha, the generic name given to all drinks made from sugared, fermented cereals.” This new publication is the result of a collaboration between the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Slow Food, as these two organizations share a vision of a sustainable world — a world free from hunger and that safeguards biodiversity for future generations. The collaboration between FAO and Slow Food originates from their common goals and their mutual interest to promote the wealth of local gastronomic traditions in defense of food biodiversity and in support of smallholder farmers and producers. Quinoa is higher in protein than wheat, corn or rice, and it contains vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids that are important to human nutrition and otherwise not present all together in just one food source. In these cold days, try the quinoa and spinach soup (from Quinoa in the Kitchen): Serves 4 — 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water, 1 white onion, 5 bunches of spinach roughly chopped, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, soy sauce, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. In a pan soften the onion in the oil...

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Quinoa Production Goes Global
Aug17

Quinoa Production Goes Global

By The Editors There are at least two staple foods that The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) would like to see in our future: edible insects and quinoa. While it may take some time to see edible insects on the Western dinner tables, quinoa is already around, well-respected and well-adapted. The FAO has officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as “The International Year of the Quinoa.” A few days ago (August 12-14) the role that quinoa’s biodiversity and nutritional value plays in providing food security and nutrition and in the eradication of poverty, was discussed at the International Quinoa Research Symposium hosted by Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, Washington.  The symposium featured presentations from quinoa experts from around the world and included, in addition to discussion and presentations of current research, hands-on demonstrations at area field trials. WSU sponsored the symposium as partial result of funding received in 2012 by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative. The grant will help develop adapted varieties and optimal management practices for quinoa production in diverse environmental conditions. The new acquired knowledge will be disseminated to Extension educators who can educate producers. Indeed, until about 15 years ago, quinoa was practically unknown outside of the Andean region of South America. Now, quinoa is a lucrative export crop and, as you may expect on the basis of FAO and USDA endorsement, is expected to go global.  However, during the symposium, agricultural researchers from different countries, including Egypt, Tibet, Denmark, France, Australia and others, reported not only stories of success but also stories of failures. Many varieties of quinoa only grow well in the cool, dry, highlands of the Andes. Researchers are testing different varieties from the Andean countries to identify some that will grow well in different areas while, at the same time, produce a seed that people like. Because quinoa production is expected to go global, researchers are also finding ways to mass-produce this crop and harvest it with machines — because of the extremely variable maturity periods, quinoa is usually harvested by hand. However, one of the major issues at the moment is that of fairness to the Andean farmers. During the conference, there was discussion of a potential solution: the creation of a special brand from quinoa produced in the Andean region, where indigenous peoples have preserved quinoa as food for present and future generations through ancestral practices of living in harmony with nature. We’re looking forward to this (potential) new brand of Andean “soul food” and we hope this will be one of many...

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Quinoa: A Future Sown Thousands of Years Ago
Aug14

Quinoa: A Future Sown Thousands of Years Ago

By The Editors The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared the year 2013 “The International Year of the Quinoa” to serve as a catalyst for increased production and consumption of quinoa. The Andean indigenous peoples have maintained, controlled, protected and preserved quinoa as food for present and future generations through ancestral practices of living in harmony with nature. Like the potato, quinoa was one of the main foods of the Andean peoples before the Incas. Traditionally, quinoa grain are roasted and then made to flour, with which different types of breads are baked. It can also be cooked, added to soups, used as a cereal, made into pasta and even fermented to beer or chicha, the traditional drink of the Andes. When cooked, it takes on a nut-like flavor. Quinoa can be found natively in all countries of the Andean region, from Colombia to the north of Argentina and the south of Chile. The main producing countries are Bolivia, Peru and the United States. The cultivation of quinoa has transcended continental boundaries: it is being cultivated in France, England, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Italy. In the United States it is being grown in Colorado and Nevada, and in Canada in the fields of Ontario. In Kenya it has shown high yields. The crop can also develop successfully in the Himalayas and the plains of northern India. Quinoa can play a significant role in the eradication of hunger due to its nutritional qualities and agronomical versatility. The International Year of the Quinoa constitutes the first step in an ongoing process to focus world attention on the nutritional value of quinoa and the role that quinoa plays in providing food...

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