Ecological

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.

Although it is difficult to know who is the first author of this quote, its sense remains perfectly valid 🙂

Our farmers grow quinoa through traditional farming methods. Their sustainable system and traditional ploughing preserve the fertility of soils, reflecting their great respect for nature and nature’s cycles.
Less than a century ago, all agriculture was integrally organic. This all changed when the chemical industry turned its interests to the agricultural sector after the Second World War. Nowadays, organic agriculture is the exception to the rule.

 

Labourer les champs de quinoa de manière traditionnelle

Soils are the basis of agriculture, complementary to the farmer’s work that leads to plant growth and production of  the nutrients necessary for all living beings. Sadly,the industrialisation of agriculture is a threat to the fertility of soils, which is on the decline worldwide. The intensified use of herbicides pesticides and chemical fertilizers in recent years has led to a growing decrease in soil fertility and to a mounting increase in soil erosion.

Permaculture

Cabana's producers have always had a sustainable approach to production, and have practised mixed agriculture. The concept of mixed agriculture is all about maintaining soil fertility by alternating the different plant types that are grown. A strict rotation of cultures is respected, with soil let aside in order to naturally regenerate. As of now, producers plant potatoes during the first year, then quinoa during years 2 and 3 and end the cycle with the set-aside period.

However, the Coopain Cabana Cooperative aims at encouraging producers in using new agricultural techniques, such as planting nitrogen-fixing seeds like alfalfa during the set-aside period. This not only provides nitrogen for the soil (just like chemicals fertilizers based on fossil fuels, but without the agressive aspect) but also provides fodder for livestock.

The growers are all willing to implement such techniques. They only need to be given the methods and necessary funds to make the transition. That is what we attempt to do with the Fairtrade system!

 

Preserving ancestral methods

Our producers prefer traditional ploughing to using tractors. Large tractor wheels and oversized disks damage the soils by going too deep under the surface. This type of mechanical ploughing disturbs different layers that should not be mixed together which can be problematic because the lowest layers do not house microbiological life. Altiplano's thin soil, that resides 4000 meters above sea level would not endure such a treatment.
 
 
Traditional ploughing only disturbs a thin layer of soil, not much more than ten centimetres. This respects the soil and has a lot of positive consequences on its fertility. Soil health gets only better, allowing good outputs while preserving the cultures' quality. This also lessens soil erosion, improves its bearing capacity, favors fixation of the nutritive elements necessary for plants and helps biological life development in the upper layers.
 
Thus, our producers are still practicing traditional labour. Of course, it is a harder and more demanding way to do things. But crucially, it preserves the activity's sustainability and renders synthetic products unnecessary.

The human impact on the environment

The ecological footprint indicates human impact on natural resources and the environment. Did you know that currently,it takes the Earth one and a half years to replenish what we consume in one single year? This means that our natural resources are being consumed faster than they are being regenerated. If the entire world population consumed resources at a rate similar to that of first world countries, we would need 2 to 3 planets like ours to meet the demand. Quinola is committed to minimising its ecological footprint, by developing products that respect the environment and reduce our impact on the planet.

A gentle form of agricultural production

Our quinoa is traditionally sourced and no tractors are used in it’s cultivation.

Quinoa is shipped to our shores from the Peruvian Altiplano but despite the long distance, quinoa has a much lower environmental impact than many other crops grown in Europe. The carbon footprint of any large ship is less than one tenth that of a truck (based on carbon emissions per kilometre and per ton), and less than one hundredth that of air transport.

Low impact packaging

The packaging has not been chosen randomly. Our products are conditioned in Doypacks: a thin plastic packaging providing an excellent food protection . This type of packaging has 4 major ecological advantages:

1. Doypacks are bisphenol A-free plastic packages that preserve food perfectly. No chemical transfer can occur while cooking the meals. Also, the production requires less material than any other form of packaging.

Sommets enneigés au Pérou

2. Doypacks are extremely light (60-70% lighter than cans) making them easy to transport. They are absolutely flat when empty and perfectly stackable when full resulting in greatly reduced fuel consumption during transport.

3. The special formulation of doypack plastic prevents the release of toxic smoke into the atmosphere during incineration, which helps reducing the household waste and the ecological impact of their production, lifetime and destruction.

4. The cost of the raw materials and oil-derived products necessary to produce doypacks is lower than that of plastic trays or glass jars. A growing number of countries are working on developing techniques to fully recycle this packaging.

Le lac Titicaca de jour

Plant proteins are as beneficial to you as to the planet

Plant proteins present in quinoa significantly reduce your own ecological footprint. Quinoa is an excellent alternative source of protein that can replace the consumption of meat or fish, as both have a high ecological impact.

Did you know that livestock are responsible for 18% of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, which is even higher than that of cars, planes and all other forms of transport combined? (Food & Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, 2006). 

The meat industry is a major carbon emitter. The only way to reduce its ecological footprint is to reduce meat consumption.

The meat industry is also water-intensive. This is significant as water is set to become more scare in the coming decades.

Battery-reared animals are mostly fed GMO grain, contributing to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

Eating alternatives to meat helps to keep our health and environment safe!