You may have seen the link circulating around Facebook this week as I did: Can Vegans Stomach the Unpalatable Truth about Quinoa? If you haven’t yet, go ahead and give it a read. I’ll wait.
**Cue some music here. Maybe Quechua music would be appropriate.
I don’t think it’s just vegans who might be a little startled to find they’re causing poverty in other countries. I mean, this site says there were about 1 million vegans, worldwide, in 2008. That hardly seems enough to topple a country’s economy, does it? Unless they’re eating quinoa three times a day.
A few days ago I unpacked 6 Reasons to be Vegetarian and why I think they’re invalid for the most part. I find it interesting that major reasons include preventing hunger in the world and caring for the environment. Yet in this article, we see first hand how these reasons are not true. Not only is the health foodist’s fixation with quinoa targeted, but asparagus and soy are also major players. Doubtless there are many others.
What’s the lesson? I think the lesson is clear. Monoculture and global food distribution of any food, whether beef or quinoa (or anything else) is a problem. It is a huge problem for the developing world, as the article clearly shows. When we eat an unbalanced diet, we unbalance the whole world’s ecosystem.
What is balance? Buy locally. I know not everyone can grow their own food–though more could than do. But by consciously choosing local food grown in season wherever possible–by making that the gold standard that every other food-buying decision is subservient to–you will be doing a very real part in helping people in foreign countries.
It goes against what we’ve been brainwashed to believe, doesn’t it? We keep being told we should help them, that we should buy their produce so that they have an income (preferably a good one). No, people. What they need is food. Food should not be a commodity. It should be grown to eat. They should be allowed to eat theirs, and we should grow our own.
Yes, my garden will be bigger this summer. No, I will not be growing quinoa.
What can you do? What do you think? Is it your problem, or someone else’s?