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Geography Education
Global news with a spatial perspective:  Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
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Geography of Quinoa

Geography of Quinoa | Geography Education |

"The popularity of Quinoa has grown exponentially among the health-conscious food consumers in the developed economies of the world.  Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is rich in protein and is a better grain for those seeking to lose weight.  Quinoa has historically be rather limited but this diffusion is restructuring the geographic patterns of many places." 

Seth Dixon's insight:

This map from a Geography in the News article shows that Quinoa has historically been grown almost exclusively in the highlands of the Andes Mountains.  This was a localized food source for generations but this new global demand has increased the economic possibilities for Quinoa growers.  At the same time, local consumers that have traditionally depended on cheap Quinoa to supplement their diet are now effectively priced out, as stated in this Al-Jazeera article

Questions to Ponder: What modern and traditional agricultural patterns can we see in the production of Quinoa?  How have global and local forces reshaped the system?

Tags: agriculture, food production, foodglobalization, South America, folk cultures, culture, Bolivia.

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 28, 2:01 PM

Quinoa is the new food to lose weight with. People all over the world have discovered its health benefits and can't get enough of it. However, quinoa only grows in certain climates and places. Since its supply is in high demand, finding places for it to grow would be beneficial to those trying to market and sell the grain. 

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 3, 6:55 PM

Quinoa has been a staple crop in the Andes mountains for many years. It has only been recently that people in other parts of the world have recognized its health benefits. Since it is grown in only a tiny part of the world, the supply may easily fall behind the demand. Finding a similar geographic area to grow crops in may be what is needed in order to increase the supply.

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 14, 11:42 AM

With health nuts discovering Quinoa the demand for this protein packed weight loss grain is quickly increasing throughout the world it is hard to keep up with supply.  Quinoa is typically grown in the Andes Mountains, limiting the area of which it can be grown.  The increase in demand for this superfood is also affecting the locals who used this as an item in their daily meals.  With production down and demand up the price is on the rise, even for those locals who had enjoyed this grain for relatively cheap for a good amount of time. 

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The Changing Geography of Quinoa

The Changing Geography of Quinoa | Geography Education |
Bolivian and Peruvian farmers sell entire crop to meet rising western demand, sparking fears of malnutrition
Seth Dixon's insight:

Quinoa was once a traditional Andean grain that few outside of South America consumed, but it has quickly become a staple among the health-conscious in developed countries in recent years.  Dieticians and nutritional experts give it their seal of approval because it is a low-fat starch that is high in protein and filled with amino acids.  This rapid adoption of quinoa in high-priced whole food stores has changed the economics of quinoa dramatically.  Peruvian and Bolivian farmers are selling at high prices with huge global demand.  Local consumers who have traditionally relied on this crop however, now have to pay triple the price to eat quinoa, causing some to question the ethics of quinoa consumption.  A simple change in cultural eating habits in one part of the world can have some major impacts on the economy and agriculture of another region.  

Tags: food, agriculture, South America, consumption, unit 5 agriculture.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, February 17, 10:17 AM

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. 

Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 15, 9:29 PM

Formally working in a whole food grocery store I have seen first hand the popularity of this starch. It is sad to think that because of the need for developed countries to "try" something new or "keep up" with what's popular ,a population is suffering. It makes me wonder is this not a crop that we could grow in the United States ?Not only to keep costs down but to relieve some stress on people such as the Peruvians.Can't we help these farmers who depend on this food as a staple in their diets?


Hector Alonzo's curator insight, November 1, 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.

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Bolivia: A Country With No McDonald’s

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

Many feel that corporate expansion within the food industries is inevitable because that's what we are currently experiencing in highly globalized countries such as the United States.  Bolivia proves an example of a country that that has rejected corporate hegemony in the marketplace because they support traditional food choices and local vendors.  Keep in mind that we shouldn't overly romanticize Bolivia, but they are a compelling example showing that consumers can impact food options.

Tags: foodglobalization, South America, folk cultures, indigenous, culture, Bolivia.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, October 27, 11:31 PM

Interesting to see that the Bolivian people did not want to have the large fast food chains in their country because they liked to stick with their traditional foods. The article says that the people of Bolivia still eat hamburgers, but they would prefer to buy them from people of their own country. This goes to show the hesitance of some countries to embrace other countries' ways, even if it is as unhealthy as McDonald's. Bolivia is at a geographic advantage because they have many organic vegetables and healthy foods, but large corporations like fast food chains are seeking to expand into them and other countries.

Jennifer Brown's curator insight, October 31, 3:39 PM

This is amazing! It makes me happy that not everyone likes to jump on the corporate coat tails of a giant corporation like McDonalds. There has no nutritional value and cause nothing but health problems. Sticking to what they know and love, makes me happy to see. I wish America wasn't so fast food obsessed! Maybe then the American children wouldn't be so unheathly

Edelin Espino's curator insight, Today, 2:34 PM

McDonalds broke in Quinoa Bolivia. A somewhat interesting news because McDonalds is a fast food restaurant quite famous and to break is pretty rare. But Bolivians prefer hamburgers that the Chachitas do and they also prefer to eat their daily diet than fast food. This place called Quinoa in Bolivia is a really interesting place free of McDonald.