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How to Keep Your Quinoa Consumption Ethical

How to Keep Your Quinoa Consumption Ethical

If you follow sustainable food news, chances are you ran across some stories recently about quinoa that made your heart a little bit sad. The gist of the narrative is that because people in wealthy western nations are eating more quinoa, the ancient grain is getting too expensive for the people who traditionally relied on quinoa as a dietary staple.

Related Reading: Superfood: 10 Quinoa Recipes

According to a recent report from NPR’s The Salt, though, this isn’t as cut and dry as those stories make it out to be. In fact, that quinoa you’re picking up at your supermarket’s bulk bins mean higher incomes and a better quality of life for the folks who grow it.

The secret to keeping your quinoa consumption ethical? It’s all about the sourcing.

When you’re shopping for quinoa, look for companies that are Fair Trade certified or that say right on the packaging that they work closely with their farmers to make sure they are paid a living wage. I did a search for “fair trade quinoa,” and the company that came up over and over is the one quoted in the NPR article: Alter Eco. You can find their quinoa on their website and at most Whole Foods stores.

If you can’t get your hands on Fair Trade quinoa, choosing organic also helps farmers by protecting their health, since organic methods mean fewer harmful chemical inputs.

Related Reading: Organic Farming vs. Industrial Agriculture: Which method wins?

Of course, they didn’t just talk to a company that sells quinoa for this story. On top of interviews with quinoa farmers, they quoted Pablo Laguna, an anthropologist in Bolivia who is looking at the quinoa boom’s effect on small farms there. He says that our hunger for quinoa is “very good news for small, indigenous farmers.” In fact, those increased incomes mean that they’re adding more healthy foods to their diets like tomatoes and fresh vegetables.

Did you read any negative articles about quinoa? Have you cut down on the amount you’ve eaten? I’d love to hear how this news might impact your shopping!

Superfood: 10 Quinoa Recipes
Curried Quinoa Cakes With Spinach
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Read more: Conscious Consumer, Food, News & Issues, , , , ,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


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4:09AM PDT on Aug 2, 2014

Thank you

9:06PM PDT on Aug 9, 2013

Fair Trade is the way to go.

8:11AM PDT on Aug 8, 2013

Thanks for the info.

1:16PM PDT on Aug 7, 2013


1:51AM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

Thank you :)

9:16AM PDT on Aug 6, 2013

Thanks, it's that easy!

1:35PM PDT on Aug 5, 2013


10:51AM PDT on Aug 5, 2013


10:44AM PDT on Aug 5, 2013

I think the higher prices are good for quinoa farmers, but not everyone in Bolivia has a farm. The problem is that poor Bolivians in cities and towns, who can't grow their own, can't afford to buy it anymore either thanks to the high price our demand is creating.

That said, Fair Trade usually involves investing some of the profits in projects that benefit the local community, so hopefully everyone wins if we buy Fair Trade quinoa.

1:35AM PDT on Aug 5, 2013

I don't use it, tried it but didn't see what all the fuss was about.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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