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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3 Comments to “An Opportunity for Amaranth”

  1. Reblogged this on An Entrepreneur for the future and commented:

    As a Marketing Communications graduate from the University of Wisconsin- River Falls, I have been trained to seek and sell profitable products that are in high-demand. With this training as students we were given options to search for both for-profit and non-profit opportunities. Either way, the main objective was to find (and sometimes spend) the greatest amount of money as possible. What I found to be lacking in our training were the social, economic, and environmental considerations of our work.
    We are told to be aware of current events, but there doesn’t seem to be a clear connection between what has been sold to society and the state of our environment. And if a class does offer this exposure, the application of our trained skills and societal damage is still unclear. The issue of the quinoa seed reflects how training to understand the impact of our business is imperative whether you’re in it for the money or the public. Here, Amaranth is the ethical product that should be bought and sold by consumers.
    My objective as a millennial entrepreneur is to be in it for the money and the public. As I establish my network, I seek to find people involved in activities that enhance the vitality of the community while collectively increasing our indivudual chances of economically sustaining ourselves. I am looking for people who are willing to build a place by using my favorite Ps being: people, peace, prosperity, and productivity.

  2. There is an irony here that appeals to me – pigweed – one of the most round-up resistant weeds taking over cornfields – is an amaranth native to the Americas. Many US farmers are fighting a losing battle with this weed – and I understand that it’s edible!

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