Quinoa—a small grain with huge nutritional impact and a passionate following—attracted researchers, farmers, processors, food experts, sociologists, and government officials from all over the world to Pullman for a symposium at Washington State University, August12 – 14. Worldwide interest in quinoa (“KEEN-wah”) has skyrocketed in the last ten years and attendant controversy has sprouted right alongside.
This first quinoa symposium to be held outside South America—and the first held primarily in English—brought together experts who could speak to all aspects of quinoa, from the botanical to the socio-economical and political. Presentations covered everything from genetic markers in varieties of quinoa, to the germplasm-saving program in Bolivia, and from the histories of growing quinoa in Bolivia and Colorado to the efforts to introduce quinoa into the diets of Malawian people so as to address hunger and malnutrition. The presentations sparked dynamic, impassioned discussions among the more than 150 attendees from 65 countries.
National Public Radio discusses quinoa and this symposium here: