Today, there’s no recipe. Today it’s all about quinoa and raising awareness for this incredible superfood.
I’m not sure if you know, but 2013 was named by the United Nations as the International Year of Quinoa. The launch was held on February 20th in NYC, my new hometown, at the UN building, but guess what? It just so happened that I was out of town. Go figure. One of the most important days in the world of quinoa, and I wasn’t able to be there. But alas, I was able to follow the conversation online.
For all of us quinoa lovers, this is super exciting news because this little seed has been brought onto the world stage and is being highlighted for it’s powerful nutritional properties. In an effort to eradicate world hunger, malnutrition and poverty, the FAO believes promoting quinoa and increasing consumption of this superfood can help.
So, what does this mean for quinoa?
I think many of us have seen the negative articles about quinoa in the recent news that have been spreading like wildfire. Many of them cite the detrimental impacts quinoa is having on the farmers and the countries that produce it, but have failed to tell both sides of the stories.
Naturally, with an increase in demand, prices rise. That much is true. It’s simple economics. But what isn’t true, is that these articles have led us to believe that the price of quinoa is now so high that the farmers can’t afford to it eat anymore. However according to reports coming out of Bolivia, quinoa consumption in the country (the largest producer of quinoa) has increased three-fold in the last four years.
But why does quinoa deserve it’s own year?
To start, it’s insanely good for you. I’m not going to spend my time explaining the nutritional benefits of quinoa (you can read that here), but rather let’s focus on how the crop is fueling economies and because of its heath benefits, is being introduced into school breakfasts to decrease poverty and hunger in these regions. Quinoa is, “part of a broader FAO strategy to promote traditional or forgotten crops as a means to combat hunger and promote healthy eating”, according to the United Nations.
With cultivation increasing in countries like Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, quinoa production is now also spreading to countries like the United States and Canada. The hope is that this year will help to stimulate growth of this crop and increase awareness for worldwide hunger and how purchasing ancestral crops, like quinoa, supports the small farmers who are the major producers of the seed.
The event on Wednesday will kick off a year full of “cultural, artistic and academic activities, as well as scientific research, which FAO hopes will contribute to the well-being of thousands of smallholder farmers and to consumers worldwide.”
Are you ready to celebrate with us? We’re super excited to spend this year in style, cooking up a frenzy and enjoying every last bit of quinoa that we can. Remember, search for Fair Trade quinoa products in your local grocery stores!
And it would be a true food post, without some recipes, right?! Here’s a list (almost a hodge podge) of some of my favorite quinoa recipes from the year so far:
- Healthy “Reese’s” Quinoa Crispy Treats from Queen of Quinoa
- Maple-Pecan Quinoa Porridge from Momtastic
- Gluten-Free Ginger Quinoa Granola from Beard + Bonnet
- Creamy Coconut Chicken Salad with Quinoa from Queen of Quinoa
- Quinoa + Eggs from Fit Foodie Finds
- Quinoa Taco Salad Bowl from Cooking Quinoa
- Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes from Queen of Quinoa
- Quinoa Stuffing from With Style + Grace
- Clean Eating Tortillas from The Gracious Pantry
- Quinoa Sushi with Avocado & Mango from Queen of Quinoa
- Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies from Gluten-Free Goddess
- Wheat Free Quinoa Pancakes from A Pretty Life
- Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies from Queen of Quinoa
- Quinoa Baked Zucchini Chips from Cooking Quinoa
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Quinoa Pie Crust from 84th & 3rd