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Geography of Quinoa

Geography of Quinoa | Matt's Geography Portfolio |

"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." 

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I have tried Quinoa, and thought that it was satisfactory, but I do not feel that it is worth importing to the US, given the negative effects that were mentioned in the article, such as harm to the poor, and malnutritioning the natives of Bolivia.  While it might be making money for the Bolivians (well, some of them), it is something that is damaging the soil as well... As the Bolivians plant and harvest this crop for purposes of exporting, the over-abundance of their agricultural efforts is harming the land, making it less fertile for people to grow Quinoa and other crops in.  I can see why the immediate desire to produce this crop arises, and it is logical, because little else will thrive in the Bolivian environment, but after examining the lasting impact, I would have to say that it reminds me of consumption of fossil fuels as a primary energy resource in first world countries today.  Using something that will only be available for a short time, and something that harms the environment and Earth, does not seem like something that we humans should get involved in, especially in such a day and age where the ignorance card cannot be played, and other excuses for us to continue with bad habits are dwindling away.  I look forward to the colonization of other worlds, but hope that by then we have perfected our methods instead of harming the environment in capitalistic rat races.

David Lizotte's curator insight, February 9, 5:51 PM

This article was short so I clicked on the link that directed me to an Al Jazeera article, which went more in depth in this issue. My scoop reflects information gained from both articles. 

It is nice to see the world taking notice of such a nutritionally rich grain, that being quinoa. The world has many poor regions that in turn produce malnourished people, the production of quinoa on a global scale seems to benefit many. Yet, on a local more personal level there are people suffering from the demand/price boom. 

Local Bolivian residents, mostly surrounding the quinoa production regions (Andes) are suffering from the rising price of Quinoa. I find this to be outrageous. Regions can provide enough quinoa for the world yet overlook the sales of residents, whom have been valuing quinoa for generations upon generations. Now there are many whom cant afford it. 

The mass consumption of quinoa has now created mass production of the crop. This in turn is affecting the Nitrogen level of soil in certain regions, creating rifts amongst landowners (land owned due to native beliefs), and neglect of certain business men in regards to there native lands. The industry is changing the landscape and affecting the culture of rural regions as a whole. 

In response to the increased malnourishment of Bolivian citizens throughout the nation the government has issued a law declaring the children and pregnant woman being issued quinoa on a regular basis. This in turn provides nourishment these people need on a daily schedule. This is good progress however it doesn't pertain to the nation as a whole and also it only benefits the people receiving the quinoa for a period of time (end of pregnancy, older age/no longer a child). If Boliva wants to take part in global distribution of this crop it needs to tend to its own borders and secure a stable environment amongst its population. Its producing a product that battles malnourishment, no need for an immense population of people being malnourished throughout the general area. Very ironic. 


Jason Schneider's curator insight, February 9, 10:10 PM

Quinoa appears to be originated as grain crop for edible seeds in parts of Bolivia, Argentina, Peru and along to Andes Mountain. However, they increase the crop value as it spreads to other areas of the world such as Europe and United States. One thing that I wonder is that if the production is going to be popular in any region other than South America but manufacturing regions started on eastern United States and they spread overseas to Europe. I wonder if production of Quinoa will spread to other continents. Believe it or not, it has partially spread to small parts of southwestern Europe.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, March 22, 3:20 PM

Quinoa will be a staple for generations to come and the countries of Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina would do well to provide all the assistance to the farming community in their respective countries. This product is like New Age rice, it provides multiple benefits to health conscious consumers such as protein, fiber, and a "full" feeling when consumed. Any recipe that calls for a rice base can incorporate Quinoa just as easily and it tastes great. being a bit of a health freak, I use Quinoa in my diet and it works.

While the success of the grain has made it less accessible price-wise to those who grow it, it should provide for a greater economic benefit for years to come, lifting a population from near poverty levels to hopefully one of a strong and vibrant middle class.

Rescooped by Matthew DiLuglio from Geography Education!

European women marry, give hope to Samaritans

European women marry, give hope to Samaritans | Matt's Geography Portfolio |
MOUNT GERIZIM, West Bank (AP) — The Samaritans, a rapidly dwindling sect dating to biblical times, have opened their insular community to brides imported from eastern Europe in a desperate quest to preserve their ancient culture.

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I know a man who is Indian, and his grandparents came from India.  He tells me that their people do not formally or very much at all approve of interbreeding between their people and other cultures.  He says Indians stick with Indians, and that's how it's supposed to be.  I think in the future that the genetic diseases will be abolished by selective characteristic modification through reproductive alteration using technology- I think DNA modification will become a popular trick in both reproduction and everyday life that will allow for the end of illness.  This would allow people to marry into other cultures without fear of genetic complications, but they would still have that cultural barrier my Indian acquaintence referred to.  That same dude has some funny insight about Italians and other cultures, and noted that Italian-Americans are not really Italian at all.  We had a couple of interesting discussions regarding different cultures, and he told me that he is 100% Indian.  I don't mean to seem degrading AT ALL but the first thing that popped into my head was how people breed dogs to be purebreds, which are coveted and expensive, as well as pure.  I'm a blend of many different nationalities, and I'm proud of it... The universe is a blend of many nationalities, and I ever-ponder my connection with the Universe, and it's nice to know that I have a commonality with the Universe!

Cam E's curator insight, February 18, 2014 12:00 PM

It's a very interesting and sad phenomenon when groups that thrived in the past begin to dwindle to a point where the acts of individuals can decide the entire future of the demographic. It brings in questions of tradition and if those people have a duty to propagate their genes to keep their group alive. I can only imagine how tense the environment could be when single accidents or deaths could mean the end of your people.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 2014 12:14 PM

This article describes a how the small religious group, the Samaritans, have seen their numbers shrink to unsustainable levels and have been forced to turn outside to find wives. These men are importing brides from places like Ukraine because of a significant gender imbalance and heightened risk of birth defects due to genetic homogenization over the centuries. These circumstances present an fairly unique case of migration, one which should it become a standard practice, could have an effect on the culture of the Samaritan communities.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 2014 9:43 PM

The Samaritans, a rapidly dwindling sect dating to biblical times, have opened their insular community to brides imported from eastern Europe in a desperate quest to preserve their ancient culture. Five young women from Russia and Ukraine have moved to this hilltop village in recent years to marry local men, breathing new life into the community that has been plagued by genetic diseases caused by generations of intermarriage. Husni Cohen, a 69-year-old village elder, said the marriages are not ideal, since there is always a risk that the newcomers may decide to leave. But in a community whose population has fallen to roughly 360 people, he saw little choice.

Rescooped by Matthew DiLuglio from Geography Education!

Linguistic Diversity at Home

Linguistic Diversity at Home | Matt's Geography Portfolio |

"Counties where at least 10 percent of people speak a language other than English at home."

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

The presence of large numbers of people that speak languages other than English at home occurs on the east and west coasts of the U.S., but largely in the south and western areas of the U.S..  In high school we used to have discussions about how there were many immigrants coming into the U.S. from or through Mexico.  With migration comes cultural diffusion, as the people coming into the United States bring their language and many other cultural elements of their country of origin with them.  I know there are certain neighborhoods in cities in Rhode Island where most people that I see on the street are speaking Spanish.  I have a relative that has married an immigrant from Guatemala, and she learned that the North East coast of the U.S. Is where many people from Central America move to- often in groups that settle as communities to help each other.  I can understand that it is essential to live near people that speak your language, and it makes sense that their strength and comfort in numbers is also a way of having a "home away from home."  Being the area of the world on the southern land border of the U.S., and that Central America consists mainly of Spanish speakers, it fills in the Southern areas of the U.S. with people that speak a language other than English.  The coasts overall can be explained as being populated by people that speak languages other than English at home because they contain ports of travel and trade, and are points where many flights from other countries would land and drop off travelers and migrants.  That and beautiful ocean views make the coasts a great place for foreigners to settle and live.  These pull factors are likely influential reasons for people to relocate to the areas on the map.

Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 10, 2013 11:02 PM

This map does not bring many surprises.  Places where there are a lot of Spanish speaking families are present in places where many Spanish people immigrate to, along the Mexican border and the southern tip of Florida, where Cuba is close by.  One interesting thing about the French areas seen in Louisiana is that their version of French is a regional dialect. Not only is their a cluster of French speaking families, but they are all speaking a language native to the region.  It is very surprising that there are not as many French speaking families along the Canadien border.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, September 26, 2014 11:34 AM

This map shows how linguistically diverse the United States is today. This map reminded me of one of the slides that we went over in class about how in the Northwest Region the predominant language was German and now it is mainly English, with some German and Native American languages still spoken in certain parts.

Giselle Figueroa's curator insight, September 26, 2014 10:29 PM

This data is very interesting because you can see that most of these statements speak Spanish. I noticed that most people who speak another language at home (in this case Spanish)  besides English are located in the south western of United States. I wonder if this has something to do with people who immigrated to U.S  from south America.