Geography 200
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Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education!

Bolivia: A Country With No McDonald’s

Bolivia: A Country With No McDonald’s | Geography 200 |
What America can learn from one of the most sustainable food nations on Earth.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article is interesting as it shows a cultural difference that leads the people of Bolivia to choose traditional food and food vendors over the corporate model like McDonald’s.  This shows that people in small countries can fight against globalization if the majority of the people choose not to spend money in globalized businesses.  It also shows the strength of the Bolivia people’s commitment to their cultural ways. 

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, February 28, 2015 5:50 PM

This is a fine example of people looking out for one another.  It might be easier to industrialize their food market but it's more admirable to preserve tradition, help small indigenous business, and try your best at making the country more healthy.  I applaud them for doing this.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, March 22, 2015 3:33 PM

I think I might want to move to Bolivia one day! Reciprocity is often a term used for corporate culture; you but from me and I'll buy from you type of relationship. This is still true in Bolivia only they do it on a much more personal level. Farmers share equipment, they share crops, seeds and develop a rapport not easily undone by corporations such as McDonald's. Bolivia's multiple micro-climates allow it to grow a wide variety of foods for their citizens, thus making it easier to trade within their circle of neighborhood farmers. "I'll trade you ten pounds of potatoes for five pounds of Quinoa."

The article goes on to state that Bolivians do indeed love their hamburgers, a handful of Subway's and Burger King's still do business there, but the heritage of picking a burger from a street vendor has been passed down by generations. These cholitas, as they are called, sell their fare in the streets of Bolivia and this type of transaction is not easily duplicated by large corporations. I have added Bolivia to my bucket list...

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, October 30, 2015 10:28 PM

" Whats Bolivia doing so right that McDonalds couldn't make it there?"

Food is not a commericial space here.

Morales, speaking to the United Nations General Assembly in February, slammed U.S. fast-food chains, calling them a “great harm to humanity” and accusing them of trying to control food production globally.

“They impose their customs and their foods,” he said. “They seek profit and to merely standardize food, produced on a massive scale, according to the same formula and with ingredients which cause cancers and other diseases.”

Even still, with one of the lightest carbon footprints in the world, cherished food practices and progressive food sovereignty laws on the books, Bolivia could still be a model to the rest of the world—the United States especially—for a healthier, more community-based food system.


What an insightful read. I never thought of considering our food a s a "commercial space" but that is essentially exactly what it is. Our food has been extremely commercialized. Products our pushed through advertisement continuously. Most of the foods in America are not even real food but food products, factory made. This is absolutely a role model country for how food should be consumed.

Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education!

The Changing Geography of Quinoa

The Changing Geography of Quinoa | Geography 200 |
Bolivian and Peruvian farmers sell entire crop to meet rising western demand, sparking fears of malnutrition

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

I have never heard of Quinoa until I read this article.  I found myself amazed at the properties of this food especially when it is grown in such an inhospitable environment for growing other crops.  It is sad that the poor people eat less of it now but the income it generates for them is a good thing.  It allows them to increase their standards of living and entices people to return to their home villages rather than crowd into cities. With the increased income they can improve the variety of foods in their diets even if it means the decrease in consumption of the quinoa. 

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, November 1, 2014 8:48 PM

Bolivia and Peru once enjoyed Quinoa as a locally grown grain that was used in a nutritious diet. However, because  other parts of the world are becoming increasingly accustomed to Quinoa it is driving the price of the grain in both countries, which is putting the locals in a tough pot because it is practically tripling in price. The poorer citizens are struggling to get Quinoa, something that they once got relatively easy.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 7:12 PM

This is an example of the harmful effect of globalization, those who grew quinoa for food are now forced to ship away their food source leading to starvation and a slew of other issues. Those in the west with their obsession with "Super Foods" have without realizing it driven up the price of this grain to the extend that those who relied upon it as their staple crop can no longer afford to eat it themselves.

Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 3, 2015 12:54 PM

I remember walking into Panera Bread one morning a few months back. In the doorway, they had a sign that read, "Now serving Quinoa Oatmeal." I thought to myself, "What the hell is a Key-noah?" Now, it seems I can't go anywhere without hearing about this grain.


Touted as the super grain, Quinoa has been used for centuries as a source of sustenance for the dwellers of the Andes. But what happens when a traditional food source, only able to grow in a small region is suddenly desired by large parts of America and Europe? Supply and demand has kicked in and if it's more profitable to eat something else and sell your crop, then I'd imagine most folks would do just that like they are in the Andes. The problem with selling your main source of nutrition is that when you aren't eating it, you're not getting the nutrients you normally got. Is stripping a people of their ancestral food source and malnutrition worth it for a bowl of oatmeal at Panera?