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Rescooped by Matthew DiLuglio from Geography Education!

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!

Burka Avenger

"Burka Avenger is a new Pakistani kids' show about a mild-mannered teacher who moonlights as a burka-clad superhero."

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

In reference to globalization, the origins of mythology and ideas of "super-heros" go back thousands of years to ancient mythology.  Often, these ancient gods or heros had something in common with their audiences, to identify with, as well as an exceptional skill that surpassed that of any human capability.  This Burka Avenger trailer shows that the Avenger fights evil in a superior way- by using books.  The commonality with Muslim audiences is depicted as wearing similar religious clothing, but also realizing that having that ability to battle with books is something both the superhero has, AND the general population.  This allows for identifying between the population and the hero in a way that shows they can be heros too.  Superman did something similar by "doing the right thing," and Batman too, by standing up to injustice at whatever level his opportunities permitted.  Showing a down-to-earth hero with powers and commonalities with the Muslim audience is a way of the artists of their society saying that these kids can be heroes too.  It plays down the extremes of actual violence, and replaces that with intellectual solutions and peaceful defending of the right thing to do. The blend of conventional heroic traits and the Pakistani culture is what makes this cartoon a statement for social change, and also what might keep them away from harmful activities by them being exposed to it at a young age.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, November 19, 2014 12:45 PM

There is something to be said about how film and the media can be used as an effective tool to touch on broad cultural ideals. On a related note, I will be attending a conference soon in Boston on social studies education and one of the seminars I will be going to is how to use SciFi movies in the classroom. Ideals like equality, fighting oppression and free speech are timeless and span many cultures, in Pakistan, the Burka Avenger is that area's media outlet to discuss key social topics to young people.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, April 6, 4:25 PM

A modern day Batman/Superman, Burka Avenger, with great graphics and an in-depth plot. The television shows the Pakistanis children watch are the same type of shows that I watched growing up, and the shows that the modern day children of today’s youth are watching. The cross-cultural relationship seems so different, but at the roots it is the same. The kids in this show have friends, pets, enemies, a hero, a conflict; everything that an American television show would feature.  Whether the kids are facing a bully, a school closure from a villain, or a life peril from another villain, there undercover school teacher is there ready and willing to save the day. Everybody needs a hero to look up to, so this show is great for the Pakistani youth. 

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, May 6, 10:06 AM

I think this is wonderful.  It also reemphasizes the reality that all children are born without preconceived notions of what is right, what is wrong, what is good, or what is evil.  An American child might look at this and automatically think that the lady in the Burka is a "villain", due to American media and propaganda.  I can't help but think of the backlash that would surround this cartoon if they ever tried to put it on American airwaves.