I love quinoa. These lightly bitter black, red and white grains that steam to reveal a little white curl on their sides are springy, high in protein and amino acids. They're plain enough to take on any seasoning I desire (today: sustainably-sourced sardines with yuzu kosho, garlic and a chilli), but still full of character it brings its own textures to the table.
But here is the unpalatable truth: because of popular culture, farmers have been rushing to grow quinoa, in conditions that aren't suitable for the crop. This brings a host of other problems - from irrigation to poverty. The poorer people in Peru and Bolivia can no longer afford to eat quinoa, their once-staple food. Because quinoa commands a higher price, they sell it and eat cheaper, imported junk food instead.
The solution for us who still want to consume this ancient grain and keep the Andean culture alive: buy fairtrade. Know where your foods come from. When you give the culture a chance to survive, you're also giving yourself and your future generations a chance to enjoy it in time to come.