This is a guest post from Alan Adams on FOE Support for Lucinda Duy Quishpilema’s participation in an amaranth conference in Mexico. The next post will have Lucinda’s report.
What Lucinda learned in Mexico she is already putting into practice. Last week she harvested 7 quintales of her own amaranth with her family. They separated about 50 lbs of the best for seed. Now Lucinda is preparing the products she learned about in Mexico. This is just the beginning. Before the Congreso opened, Mushuk Yuyay received a gift of 3 varieties of amaranth seed from Oaxaca, Mexico and 4 varieties from Guatemala. This will probably be planted next month, weather permitting.
Getting Lucinda to Mexico for the Primer Congreso Munial de Amaranto was a coordinated group effort on very short notice. We were not going to let this wonderful opportunity slip by. Besides the contribution from Friends of Ecuador, others gave to cover bus fare and other transportation costs, meals, and more expenses. Alana Mockler, mentioned in the report, is a former Global Citizen Year participant who was hosted by Lucinda and her family while she served in Ecuador. She helped raise money. When Lucinda arrived in Mexico DF, she was met by Slyler Narotsky, another former Global Citizen volunteer and member of Mushuk Yuyay, and by Juana Chuma who is a member of the the Cañari community. Both are students in Mexico City. They put Lucinda on the bus to Puebla.
The Congreso was a valuable experience for many reasons. Lucinda learned about the nutritional value of amaranth to help her in her efforts to combat malnutrition. She learned about processing, which she will need very soon. She also learned about preparing new products for the local markets in Ecuador and for healthy school lunches, breakfasts and snacks. Anyone traveling in Ecuador is welcome to stop in Cañar to taste Lucinda’s amaranth products.
During the Congreso, Lucinda as also able to give a talk about the nutrition education program “Niños saludables Futuro saludable” that Friends of Ecuador has helped several times in the past.
Probably the most important aspect of the experience is the many contacts Lucinda made among producers, scientists, and chefs who are willing to help her as her amaranth production grows. We all see amaranth products in local stores here in the U.S., but Lucinda’s efforts in Amaranto Kuri Muru (Amaranth, the Golden Grain) is expressly for local health, food security, and food justice in the Cañar area.
I would like to thank all of the members of Friends of Ecuador, all of the contributors, and supporters who made this experience possible. The benefits derived from your generosity will be felt in Cañar and beyond for many years.