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Archeologists have found 3,000-year-old quinoa seeds at a site in Brantford, Ont., raising questions about the extent of trade among Indigenous peoples at the time. (Submitted by Gary Crawford)

CBC.ca

By Jasmine Kabatay · CBC

3,000-year-old seeds seemingly ‘processed for delivery’

A mass of quinoa seeds excavated from an archeological dig at a Brantford, Ont., construction site has been identified as being 3,000 years old, raising questions about the extent of trade among Indigenous peoples at the time.

The 140,000 seeds, which originate from the Kentucky-Tennessee area, seem as if they were “processed for delivery,” said Prof. Gary Crawford of department of anthropology at the University of Toronto.

The findings were published in the December 2018 issue of American Antiquity.

This is just one of these unbelievably fortuitous discoveries,” said Crawford.

“It just shows us that sometimes what seems to be a relatively insignificant site can have something incredibly important on it.”

Crawford says no one has reported this type of quinoa in Ontario before, and the discovery leads to more questions than answers, especially when it comes to trade.

He says the discovery shows that crops were part of trade at the time, and suggests that people in what is now Ontario were connected to others farther south.

He says it’s possible the seeds were grown here, but there’s no evidence.

“Of course the lack of evidence doesn’t mean they weren’t growing it. But for now I think the safe interpretation is this stuff was being imported,” said Crawford.

The seeds were found in 2010, after the site was assessed to see if there were any relevant archeological items in the area. Crawford says there was nothing unusual about the initial findings, as most of the items came from the area.

It wasn’t until the team examined sediment from a pit beside the site that they discovered something much bigger.

“It’s the first time I’ve been close to being shocked in 45 years of research, and I would say more delighted and surprised than shocked, but it was one of those ‘O-M-G’ moments that one gets when they’re doing research,” said Crawford.

Indigenous Canadians and Native Americans are and were sophisticated people, as sophisticated as anyone else in the world, and they were involved in fascinating kinds of things,” said Crawford.

Paula Whitlow, museum director at Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, says it isn’t really understood how Indigenous people traded back then. But it is understood there was an “extensive trade network.”

Whitlow notes that the largely peaceful Indigenous people who occupied the area at the time had an extensive trade network and even a city, Onondaga, that covered some 15 acres.

The next step with the seeds, Crawford says, is to look at “relatives” of this type of quinoa in the Ontario area.

“I think we need to work together with botanists to sort out whether the wild species that grows in Ontario is actually a feral version of this crop and whether weed distributions we see in the province today actually can be traced way back to Indigenous Canadian activity in the province,” said Crawford.

 

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field of Quinoa

 

Original Article

eurelalert.org

Archaeological remains found in southern Bolivia reveal a flourishing agrarian society from the 13th to the 15th centuries, despite marked drying and cooling of the climate throughout the period. This unexpected observation is the result of an interdisciplinary study conducted by an international team (CONICET, CNRS, IRD and UCSD). This research, published in Science Advances, highlights the adaptive capacity and resilience of societies with little hierarchical differentiation, in confronting the challenges of climate degradation.

Source: Unexpected agricultural production allowed pre-Hispanic society to flourish in arid Andes

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Topic: Inca Foods

By Manuel Villacorta is a nationally recognized, award-winning registered  dietitian

Growing up in Peru, we ate many foods that you don?t see as often in the  United States. Quinoa, for instance, was everywhere?we used it to feed both  people and chickens! In recent years many of the foods I remember from a Latin  American diet have become available in the US, and it turns out they have highly  beneficial nutritional profiles. That they do should come as no surprise?many of  these are the foods of the Incas, on which those great people built a vast  empire. Today I want to introduce you to the five food wonders of the Incan  world, and suggest you try them out for yourself.

The Incan empire is less familiar perhaps than the Romans, but it shouldn?t  be; by the 16th century its borders extended from Machu Picchu in Peru north to  Ecuador and south along the Andes through modern-day Chile and Argentina. The  Incas had to manage a huge territory, including communicating across vast  distances, so it?s no wonder they were known for their fighting skills, their  endurance, and their strength. Clearly, they benefited from some good nutrition!  In fact, with an empire whose beginning pre-dates the arrival of Europeans in  the Americas, the Incas were fueled by a diet made up of nutritionally dense,  New World foods. Here are five of them.

1. Quinoa: The Incas called this staple of their diet Chehisaya mama,  meaning ?mother of all grains,? and yet quinoa is not actually a grain?it?s a  seed. And what a seed it is: one cup of quinoa has 8 grams of protein, is high  in calcium, protein, and iron, and is a good source of Vitamin C as well as  several B-Vitamins. It is high on the lycine/thiamine system, so in combination  with other grains it creates complete proteins. Best of all, it?s incredibly  easy to make, and versatile to eat.  Quinoa cooks in about 15 minutes with  two cups of liquid to a cup of quinoa. (Check out my YouTube demonstration on  how to cook quinoa.) Use it as a rice substitute in stir fries, pair it with  fish and vegetables to make a complete entr�e, or put it in a salad or under a  soup as a carbohydrate source. It?s even a breakfast food?boil it with milk, add  walnuts and blueberries, and it?s a delicious alternative to oatmeal.

2. Kiwicha: You may already know this seed by its more common  North American name, amaranth. It?s often called ?mini-quinoa,? but kiwicha is a  much smaller seed. It is very high in protein and has a more complete profile of  amino acids than most other grains, and it is rich in iron, manganese,  magnesium, phosphoros, and copper?minerals essential to healthy physical  functioning. Adding kiwicha to your diet can help decrease plasma cholesterol,  stimulate your immune system, and potentially even inhibit tumors. It also  improves hypertension and reduces blood glucose. In short, it can help support  your body?s essential systems. Kiwicha is like quinoa in one other respect?how  it?s cooked. Prepare just as you would quinoa or rice, and eat it in a  pilaf-like salad. Delicious!

3. Pichuberry: This small, smooth fruit is known in Peru as ?Inca berry,? but it was so  successfully spread by the Spanish after their conquest of the Americas that in  Africa it?s known as the Africa berry, and in Australia it?s called a Cape  gooseberry. Its health benefits are manifest: the pichuberry contains powerful  antioxidants and twenty times the Vitamin-C of an orange; it boosts immunity and  vitality, and there is even promising research suggesting it prevents cellular  aging and the onset of cancer. In Peru it is known as the anti-diabetic fruit  because it reduces blood sugar by stimulating the production of insulin. And its  nutrient profile (Provitamin A, B-Complex vitamins, thiamine, nyacine,  phosphoros) is associated with liver fortification, lung strength, fertility,  and food absorption. It makes a great salad when paired with quinoa, tastes  incredible with dark chocolate, and is a delicious replacement for blueberries  on your morning oatmeal.

pichuberries

4. Sacha Inchi: These seeds of the Inchi plant are often called  Inca-peanuts, and they are one of the best plant sources for the Omega family of  fatty acids. With 48% Omega-3, 36% Omega-6, and rich supplies of Iodine, Vitamin  A, and Vitamin E, the Inca-peanut has major health benefits in terms of  restoring your lipid balance, encouraging the production of HDL (high-density  lipoprotein, responsible for transporting lipids through your bloodstream), and  fighting conditions like heart disease and diabetes. You can certainly eat Sacha  Inchi like you would other nuts, but you might prefer to buy the oil and use it  to dress salads in place of olive oil (with its low burning-point, it is  somewhat tricky to use as a cooking oil).

5. Purple Potatoes: Potatoes are a remarkably diverse and nutritious  New World food?in Peru there are over 3,000 kinds! The one that was particularly  eaten by the Incas was the purple potato, which has started to appear in North  American supermarkets. The anthocyanins in the potatoes give them their  distinctive purple/blue color; these natural chemicals are flaminoids?substances  with powerful anti-cancer and heart protective effects. Flaminoids also  stimulate the immune system and protect against age-related memory loss. These  potatoes are delicious, with a distinctive nutty, earthy, slightly bitter  flavor. I prefer to roast them:  I use a pump mister filled with olive or  peanut oil?not an artificial cooking spray?to lightly spritz the quartered  potatoes, which I then spread in a roasting pan, sprinkle with kosher salt and a  little garlic powder or Italian seasonings, and roast for about 15 minutes at  400 degrees. Once the potatoes are cooked they are a great carb source for a  variety of meals; I make a batch on Sunday, and use them through the week  scrambled with eggs for breakfast, in a salad for lunch, or reheated with  chicken or fish for dinner.

All of these delicious foods have begun making an appearance in North  American supermarkets, and are still in the fully natural, nutritious state they  were in when they sustained the Incas through the building of a great empire.  Try them out. Your health and your taste buds will thank you.

Original article:

latino.foxnews.com

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Topic Ancient grain-modern times

I was going to  post somthing else today but I found this article on yahoo and could’t resist

 

By CARLOS VALDEZ and FRANK BAJAK, Associated Press Carlos Valdez And Frank Bajak, Associated Press Tue Jan 4, 12:55 pm ET

CARACOLLO, Bolivia – It’s as inhospitable as climates come for crop cultivation, the dry and rocky soils of Bolivia’s semiarid altiplain. Miguel Choque can see his breath as surveys his fields of quinoa, the Andean “supergrain.”

In late March or April, the flowering plants will paint the rugged landscape yellow, green and red. Their diminutive seed, which powered Inca armies only to be elbowed aside by the wheat preferred by colonizing Spaniards, is unmatched in nutritional value.

Quinoa’s rising popularity among First World foodies — the wholesale price has jumped sevenfold since 2000 as global demand climbed — has been a boon to the poor farmers here in the semiarid highlands where most of it grows.

President Evo Morales’ government has deemed quinoa a “strategic” foodstuff, essential to this poverty-afflicted nation’s food security. It is promoting the grain and has included quinoa in a subsidized food parcel for pregnant women.

Yet the higher prices quinoa is fetching have had an unanticipated impact where the grain is grown. Some local children are showing signs of malnutrition because their parents have substituted rice and noodles for quinoa in the family diet, said Walter Severo, president of a quinoa producer’s group in southwest Bolivia.

“Only 10 percent of it stays in Bolivia. The other 90 percent gets exported,” says Rural Development Minister Nemecia Achacollo.

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) provides 10 essential amino acids, is loaded with minerals and has a high protein content — between 14 and 18 percent. The FAO (U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization) says it is so nutritious it can be substituted for mother’s milk.

“This food is about the most perfect you can find for human diets,” said Duane Johnson, a 61-year-old former Colorado State agronomist who helped introduce it to the United States three decades ago.

Quinoa isn’t a cereal. It’s a seed that is eaten like a grain, but is gluten-free and more easily digestible than corn, wheat, rye, millet and sorghum. And it can be substituted for rice in just about anything — from soup to salad to pudding to bread.

“I’ve got high-performance athletes that swear by it,” said David Schnorr, president of Quinoa Corp., the largest U.S. importer. It’s also being embraced by the increasing number of Americans with food allergies or celiac disease, an immunological rejection of gluten, a wheat protein. NASA researchers consider it ideal for inclusion in possible future long-term space missions when crops would need to be grown on spacecraft.

Quinoa has been cultivated in the Andean highlands since 3,000 B.C., and grows natively from Chile north to Colombia, mostly in Peru and Bolivia. The varieties of this region of southwestern Bolivia — at 3,700 meters (over 12,000 feet) — are resistant to the freezes and droughts that periodically afflict it.

The crop — “chisiya mama” or mother grain in the native Quechua language — also grows in the San Luis Valley of Colorado at about 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) as well as in a growing number of countries including China and Mongolia, said Johnson.

“It’s very specific in the environments where it will grow,” he said. “It requires very cool days and even cooler evenings.”

He says Peru and Bolivia account for as much as 97 percent of global production.

And demand is booming.

“We’ve easily doubled our business in the last couple of years during the worst economic recession we’ve had in a long time,” said Schnoor.

In 2000, Bolivia exported 1,439 metric tons valued at $1.8 million. In 2009, exports totaled 14,500 tons worth more than $25 million, principally to the U.S., Japan and Europe. The goal for this harvest is 30,000 tons, said Bolivia’s deputy minister of rural development, Victor Hugo Vasquez.

Schnoor said prices soared threefold in early 2008. A decade ago, a 12-ounce box of his quinoa, marketed under the Ancient Harvest brand, retailed for 99 cents in the United States. Now it costs about $4.50. It’s also available in bulk at natural food markets — and even Costco warehouse stores now carry it.

The indigenous Bolivians who cultivate quinoa are among Bolivia’s poorest and many lived until the late 20th century by barter. It was the discovery of quinoa by the health conscious in wealthier countries that introduced these people to the life of the market, says Brigido Martinez, president of the National Association of Quinoa producers, ANAPQUI.

Martinez traces the boom in quinoa’s popularity to a visit by the king and queen of Spain in 1987, when the royals sampled it, and the news media and the world took note. Food exporters in the coastal Peruvian capital of Lima, where it had been considered “poor people’s food” by the European-descended elite, took note and began buying it up.

It’s not by chance that most of the world’s quinoa comes from Bolivia.

In the 1990s, Johnson and fellow Colorado State University crop scientist Sarah Ward patented a high-yielding hybrid with the intention of spurring large-scale cultivation in the U.S. But they were challenged by ANAPQUI in an international court and abandoned the effort.

There are those in Bolivia who believe this scrappy grain could lift its altiplain out of poverty just as soy has become the economic motor of the country’s wealthier eastern lowlands. After all, quinoa fetches up to five times the price of soy beans in the U.S. and European markets.

Martinez doesn’t believe that can or will happen. For one, quinoa growers farm on a smaller scale (the country’s soy growers are mostly agribusinessmen with huge plantations).

But for a government that proudly declares itself “decolonizing” Bolivia in favor of its long downtrodden indigenous majority, the promotion of quinoa is a linchpin of an agricultural policy that favors the small holder over agribusiness.

Officials are working on details of a plan to boost quinoa production, including credits for farmers that never before had access to financing. Many producers are suspicious, however, that the government could turn into a competitor.

“Its support is fine, but we’d like it to help with irrigation and research to improve the quality of the seed and soil performance,” said Martinez.

Meanwhile, some quinoa farmers have put their increased income to work raising more llamas and alpacas, whose waste is used as fertilizer and which also produce wool. And while most harvesting is still done manually, some have abandoned the ox-pulled plow for tractors.

Some farmers believe current cultivation methods inadequate.

“The soils are tired and need nutrition. Production is dropping,” said Francisco Quisbert, an indigenous leader in the region where Quinoa Real is grown.

But other quinoa boosters caution that traditional, organic farming methods must be maintained to preserve the purity of the crop.

Consumers in the developed world don’t want quinoa grown with chemical fertilizers or pest controllers, said Schnorr.

However it plays out, Martinez, the producer’s association president, is not complaining.

“Quinoa isn’t lifting us out of poverty,” he says. “But we are living better.”

Original article:

By CARLOS VALDEZ and FRANK BAJAK, Associated Press Carlos Valdez And Frank Bajak, Associated Press Tue Jan 4, 12:55 pm ET

yahoo.com

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