Of 300,000 edible plants, just 3-maize, rice and wheat- account for half of world food consumption.
Which promotes the use of aggressive monoculture systems.
Resulting in genetical engineered crops that require the intense used of chemical pesticides undermining local and natural diversity with a destructive impact on soils.
The Muyu Method
Use the power of biodiversity
to grow abundant, healthy food for a better planet
Muyu is a quechua word that means both “seed” and “circular.” Our MilQ supports circular agriculture to grow abundant, nourishing food while paying fair prices to smallholder farmers.
Supporting Healthy Agro-Ecosystems
Some ingredients belong together - not just because they are nutritious and delicious but because they are partners in nature.
Planting quinoa on the same land year after year destroys soils, but crop rotation has been practiced in this part of the world for thousands of years while keeping soils healthy. Quinoa and Tarwi are part of the same crop rotation cycle. Using both these ingredients in one beverage, we are working to bring back ancient systems of circular agriculture.
Tarwi has been forgotten in most Andean communities since ancient times, but it plays an important role in this cycle by capturing nitrogen from the air to increase soil health. Tarwi also naturally repel pests and mildews without the need for synthetic pesticides.
Muyu purchases quinoa and tarwi directly from smallholder farmer cooperatives at above market prices negotiated every year. Andean farmers are the poorest demographic in South America and over 80% of our farmers are women. By purchasing native crops at fair prices, we are creating opportunities to earn a better living through regenerative agriculture. 1% of our sales will be donated to projects that support smallholder farmers.
Reducing Environmental Footprints
Andean crops such as Quinoa and Tarwi were selected by farmers over thousands of years to adapt to extreme mountain environments with scarce resources. Quinoa consumes 30X less water than almonds and 3x less than oats. Tarwi regenerates soils, which can store and capture carbon. We don't want to waste energy, so our MilQ doesn't require refrigeration until it's opened.
Sources: UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education (2010)
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2013)
Is the global demand for quinoa harmful to Andean people?Quinoa was banned in colonial times and is not a staple crop for most people in Peru today. For many years the benefits of this proud Inca food were forgotten. In most parts of the Peruvian Andes, quinoa production became low or nonexistent. In the 20th century some Peruvian scientists were even worried that this crop might disappear altogether. In the 21st century quinoa production has increased dramatically to satisfy world demand. To this day much of the world's quinoa supply comes from Andean smallholder farmers. When prices were high, impoverished farmers' incomes improved dramatically resulting in improved livelihoods and better household nutrition. However, around 2015 farmer prices crashed and have remained fairly low ever since. The poorest demographic in Peru are indigenous smallholder farmers. Generally, they benefit from high prices for their crops. Most quinoa farmers would like to export to premium clients abroad if given the opportunity, and this is their choice. Articles claiming that high quinoa prices were bad for rural Andean populations did not consult adequately with local people in the Andes, and were mostly disproven by later research.
Can we produce quinoa in other countries?Currently, Peru is the world's #1 quinoa exporter and produces about half of the world's quinoa. Bolivia is the second largest exporter. The vast majority of the world's quinoa supply comes from the Andes. Other countries produce smaller volumes of quinoa. This may change eventually, but it is happening slowly if at all.
What if Peru can't produce enough quinoa to satisfy world demand?Much of the land used in ancient times for quinoa cultivation is now used for other crops and for livestock. Andean farmers often decide what to plant based on prices, and they have a track record of increasing quinoa cultivation when there is sufficient demand. From 2007 - 2014, quinoa production in Peru increased by a surprising 350%. Currently, Peru produces about half of the world's quinoa supply. Over 2/3 of Peru's quinoa comes from just 3 of Peru's 25 regions. This means that there is still a vast potential to plant more quinoa on land that is already being used for agriculture. Quinoa and other ancient Peruvian crops had been in decline for centuries until recent demand for superfoods began to take off. This means that there is a tremendous potential to bring back other crops that were popular in Inca times, such as Tarwi and Kiwicha. When done ethically and sustainably, this can result in better livelihoods for farmers and a positive environmental impact.
Is quinoa monoculture a problem in the Andes?In some places quinoa monoculture is a serious problem. Andean farmers in certain communities (and generally with larger sized farms) are using high levels of synthetic pesticides and no longer practice crop rotation. All this results in soil degradation and biodiversity loss. It can also be bad for farmers' and consumers' health. This goes against what we believe, which is why we source quinoa directly from carefully selected farmer groups that practice organic agriculture. By purchasing both organic quinoa and tarwi at above market prices, we are encouraging farmers to earn a better living the natural and sustainable way.