17 January 2013

"Let them eat Quinoa!"

2013 - International Year of Quinoa

Ok, so I knew about international observance days and weeks, even months. But I didn't know that for about the past 50 years the United Nations has been dedicating entire years - even decades - to such diverse subjects as Refugees (1959/60), Education (1970), Anti-Apartheid (1978/79) and Peace (1986).

Quinoa, the naturally gluten-free, protein-rich grain-like crop native to the Andean countries of South America, is only the third individual food item to be given a year of its own, a distinction it shares with Rice (2004) and the Potato (2008).

The resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations affirms "...the need to focus world attention on the role that quinoa biodiversity can play, owing to the nutritional value of quinoa, in providing food security and nutrition and in the eradication of poverty in support of the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals... "

Promoting better global nutrition, food safety and the eradication of poverty is a hefty agenda, and you might think it implausible that one cute little grain from Bolivia can accomplish all this. But if more people around the world cultivated and consumed it, why not?

To read more about quinoa, check out this GFiMP article from June 2010. There's even a Facebook page dedicated to the "year of the quinoa" with various resources, including recipes.

So what are you waiting for? Go buy yourself a bag of quinoa today. If what the Food and Agriculture Organization says is true, our current and future generations may come to depend on it.