A Solution to the "Quinoa Problem"? How a Prehistoric Appalachian Food May Hold an Answer to Regional Food Insecurity

Ethnobotany 2
Date and Time: 
Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 15:00
, Paul - Ohio University
, Theresa - Ohio University

Despite growing international demand for quinoa, American farmers in the Midwest U.S. have had little success in generating a variety of the crop that will grow productively in the region. Still, the National Institute for Food and Agriculture committed $1.6 million in 2014 to the development of a US-grown quinoa variety. This paper reports on current research aimed at converting a native eastern North American sister species of quinoa, Chenopodium berlandieri, into a crop that would fill the demand for a US grown quinoa. We describe the preliminary results of on-going experimental research on the economic potential of C. berlandieri as a modern food source in the Appalachian region of Ohio. Additionally, this paper describes recent archaeological data from southeastern Ohio that indicates C. berlandieri was domesticated much earlier than previously thought.