By Jessica Allen - Monday, January 7, 2013 - 0 Comments
The Food and Culture Organizations of the United Nations has announced that 2013 “is the international year of the quinoa.”
Proposed in December 2011, “the government of Bolivia, with support from Argentina, Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Georgia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, and FAO, and approved by the United Nations General Assembly,” the organization’s objective “is to focus world attention on the role that quinoa’s biodiversity and nutritional value plays, in providing food security and nutrition, the eradication of poverty in support of the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals.”
Those are all good reasons to make 2013 the year to celebrate the grain that everybody knows isn’t exactly a grain (it’s an edible seed), but did the organization miss the quinoa boat? Isn’t quinoa so 2008? Or ’09? Or ’10?
Maybe not: In 2011 Canadian Living reported that searches for quinoa by their web visitors–approximately 2 million Canadians a month–increased by 153 per cent from February 2010 to 2011, and a whopping 311 per cent in March. And just last September, Chatelaine posted a Quinoa 101 on their site. Plus, four of the six English paperback cookbooks that Amazon.ca offers with the word “quinoa” in the title, were published in 2012, including the Canadian The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook in September, and The Quinoa Revolution in October. (Man, I’d be pretty smug if I were R. Wood, who published Quinoa, the Supergrain: Ancient Food for Today, in 2002.)
By Gabriela Perdomo - Friday, June 15, 2012 at 9:25 AM - 0 Comments
You’d think quinoa, the popular superfood adored by hippies and vegetarians, could do no…
You’d think quinoa, the popular superfood adored by hippies and vegetarians, could do no harm. But in Bolivia, where most of the world’s quinoa is grown, the protein-filled crop has spurred violence between producers. Politicians are even calling for the government in La Paz, the capital, to send in the army.
Land traditionally used for growing quinoa, an indigenous staple for centuries, is scarce. This, combined with soaring prices—they have tripled in the past five years alone—has tensions running high in southwest Bolivia. Warring quinoa producers on the borders of the Potosí and Oruro departments recently attacked one another with dynamite, grenades and sticks, and three labourers were taken hostage during a standoff. Dozens have been hurt. A truce was reached by dividing 250 sq. km of quinoa plantations in half, with each side taking control of one half. But it’s harvest season, and new fights could soon erupt.
Bolivia’s quinoa production has tripled in a decade, bringing in $64 million in exports in 2011 alone. Miguel Choque of the National Association of Quinoa Producers dismisses reports of violence between producers. “This is a long-standing dispute,” he says, “and it’s not just about quinoa.” There’s also oil in those hills, he says. But he’s in La Paz, he admits, far from the tensions on the quinoa fields.
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, February 12, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 3 Comments
Layton gets more wear out of his wedding day outfit
Labour Minister Lisa Raitt and her partner, Bruce Wood, got to pet a small Siberian tiger at this year’s Dragon Ball in Toronto. The mega gala, which celebrated the Year of the Tiger, raises money for the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care. Raitt couldn’t wait to tell her kids about the tiger because they are now a cat family: they have two twin orange felines, Mojo and Saffi. Raitt was a dog person until Laureen Harper convinced her that cats were the way to go. Because they need less attention they are ideal pets for a busy politician.
By Chris Robinson, Takeoffeh.com - Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 2:22 PM - 3 Comments
Wild and wonderful places to go
“Chris’ Top Ten Favourite Places” is a regular feature of top travel destinations selected from Chris Robinson’s personal experience. In a career which has included several of the biggest vacation companies in the world, Chris has travelled to over 150 countries. This week, Chris covers his top ten wild places.
Ah! The call of the wild! Every so often I feel the need to refresh the spirit by experiencing some of the wild and wonderful places that this planet has to offer. None of these places in my Top Ten are easy to get to – they wouldn’t be wild places if they were – but they all repay the effort of travelling there with unique experiences. Continue…
By Nancy Macdonald - Thursday, September 3, 2009 at 4:20 PM - 35 Comments
Public water systems promote waste and deprive the poor
Back in 1999, when Bolivia decided to privatize water services in Cochabamba, the country’s third-largest city, it didn’t bargain for the backlash that would unleash. Mobs of angry Bolivians, some armed with Molotov cocktails, took to the streets in protest. Martial law was declared, and in the ensuing violence one person was killed and several others were injured. Eventually the government withdrew the private water contract, and Bechtel, the U.S. engineering giant overseeing the water system, was run out of the country. Since then, documentaries such as The Corporation, Blue Gold and Flow have used footage of the riots to highlight the perils of water privatization. But it’s too bad the filmmakers didn’t stick around to see how things turned out.
Since water delivery has been returned to the state-run utility, things haven’t improved at all. Fully 80 per cent of the new management is “not qualified to perform their responsibilities,” according to one former senior staffer. Two directors of the water authority have since been sacked for corruption, several managers have been fired for similar charges, and the utility is now hobbled by inefficiencies, nepotism and “blatant company corruption,” according to a recent study by the Transnational Institute. Now, party politics and electoral concerns determine “who gets service and when,” and the “fragmented hodgepodge” of expansion projects is neither coherent nor technically viable. Fully half of Cochabamba’s people are still without water, and those who have service only have it sporadically—for some, as little as two hours a day. “I would have to say we were not ready to build new alternatives,” admitted Oscar Olivera, who led the Bolivian protests that forced Bechtel out. Continue…
By Michael Petrou - Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 5:40 PM - 8 Comments
Those who have defined Guevara have picked his idealism over ruthlessness
In his final moments, at least, Ernesto “Che” Guevara lived up to the reputation his name and image would command after his death.
Following his capture in the mountains of Bolivia by CIA-backed soldiers, Guevara stood up to face CIA agent Felix Rodríguez, who told him he would be executed. “It’s better like this . . . I never should have been captured alive,” he said. Guevara told Rodríguez to “tell Fidel that he will soon see a triumphant revolution in America . . . And tell my wife to remarry and to try to be happy.” Moved, Rodríguez embraced his enemy, then walked out of the dingy schoolhouse where Guevara was held. Bolivian Sgt. Mario Terán, his face flushed from drinking, walked in. Guevara struggled to his feet. “I will remain standing for this,” he said, and, “know this now, you are killing a man.”