Archive for January, 2013

January 26, 2013

An Opportunity for Amaranth

An Opportunity for Amaranth

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Photo taken by Noah Friedman-Rudovsky of the New York Times

This article, written by Simon Romero and Sara Shahriari of the New York Times, covers the impact of quinoa, a trendy super-food bought by many people in the Western world.  When we purchase these kinds of products we tend to feel that we are helping a developing country. Although selling a product to meet market demands can be profitable, there are social, economic, and environmental impacts that are commonly ignored. In this case the product is quinoa.

Socially- We are risking the cultural cleansing of an important indigenous group. As capital gains increase in the country, the culturally and nutritionally imperative quinoa are being replaced by iconic goods like Coca-cola and white bread. Because of this replacement, Bolivians are seeing an all-time high in malnutrition in their youth.

Economically- Because the demand for this product has increased, it has caused an increase in price. Because there is an increase in price, people cannot afford their food.

Environmentally- Referred to as the “Lost Crop” of the Incas, It seems that quinoa has been mistaken to be a staple food like wheat or rice. According to the article quinoa is actually a chenopod being related to beets and spinach. This plant was domesticated long ago in the high arid mountains of the Andes.   

If Westerners want the nutritional benefits of quinoa, we should stick to our own quinoa known as amaranth. Amaranth is just as nutritional as quinoa and will benefit farmers in local cities and towns in the United States. Prosperity starts locally. If we are concerned about the well being of Bolivians, we must first understand their culture and way of life so we understand how our actions impact their community.

For specific nutritional facts about amaranth, I found these references to be helpful:

For amaranth uncooked: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5676/2

For amaranth cooked: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/10640/2

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January 13, 2013

A World Without Water: A Global Takeover?

A World Without Water: A Global Takeover

Photo courtesy of Jehad Nga for the New York Times

Photo courtesy of Jehad Nga for the New York Times

This article was published today , January 13, 2013 and was written by the Prime Minister of Tanzania, Mizengo Pinda, and posted by Craig Mackintosh on PermacultureNews.org. In the letter Pinda talks about the origin and the potential damage of privatizing something as important as water. In Tanzania, people will have the opportunity to vote for or against the control of water; of life by The World Bank. I see this article as a reminder of how some of the basic freedoms of humanity have the potential to be taken away by humans themselves; humans in professional positions of power. We must prepare to have laws against us doing the beautiful things we do as permaculturalists.

The World Bank logo

The World Bank logo

We must prepare to fight against laws that prohibit producing, and attracting sustenance; laws against free community programming about self-sufficiency; and laws against living without paying . This issue is far too close to home. Corporations like The World Bank are what sparked Occupy movements across the world. These corporations need people to provide them with the visions of the pain and suffering this policy will cause. We must create a community from advocates to lobbyists, doctors to athletes, artists to farmers, and everyone in between that will all stand up against corporations taking the control of the right to sustain life and the right to control water! Provided in the article is an hour long documentary about the impact of such a policy. So sit down with a buddy, some popcorn and enjoy!

January 9, 2013

I beleive that this concept is needed on more than just an agricultural basis. The ethics and principles of permaculture give us a wonderful model of how to consider relationships between internal and external elements involved when it comes to the process of making a decision to planning strategic action. As a Marketing Communications major, I find it essential in finding the best tactics to forming business relations on a grassroots basis.

Think of It As An Adventure

We started the Personal Permaculture discussion group last Saturday morning at the Riverview Wine Bar. Some people are interested in learning about permaculture as it applies to their land; others are interested in understanding the principles in a broader context. That’s why we’ve called in “personal” permaculture. This week we reviewed the 3 ethics, the 12 principles and the concept of zones. I’ll go over those quickly here.

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January 5, 2013

Amy Smith Provides Possibilities

Amy Smith Provides Possibilities

This video conveys the concept of turning to nature to provide the answers to some of humanity’s toughest questions. Biomimicry is our economic, envrionmental, and social answer.