Lorenzo

Lorenzo is the Altiplano’s version of a techie- at 70 years + He is the alchemist of the cooperative, trying out all the varieties of quinoa seed he can get his hands on. Sowing them in small experimental areas he currently has 76 varieties on the go, planted on slopes, flat land, southward facing etc.

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Don Pascual

Pascual is a bit of a pioneer when it comes to milk cows- almost all of the coop’s farmers rear animals as well as planting quinoa. He and his wife would typically spend 2 hours each morning and evening milking their 8 cows. He decided to modernize all this with the purchase of two milking…

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Ulali

Ulali works in the fields, always surrounded by her 2-year-old daughter Kelly. Her 20-year-old son, Roni, pops by to help whenever he can. The rest of the time he’s busy studying IT in the city of Puno. Ulali would love travelling around the world, specifically Egypt, since she dreams of seeing the pyramids! The whole family’s favourite food is the « Pesque », a mix of quinoa, milk and homemade cheese.

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Elisabeth

Elisabeth is 33. Though it doesn’t really show, she’s scared of pictures. All her life she lived in Cabana, precisely in its fields. She used to find refuge there after school. In fact, she pursued her education because nothing pleased her more than working the land. She has 3 children of 3, 5 and 6 years…

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Balbina

Balbin is 67, and just like her friend and neighbour Elisabeth, she doesn’t like pictures. Balbina works the fields 365 days a year, without a rest, from 8am to 4pm. The rest of the time she’s busy cooking or knitting clothes for the whole family. She’s very keen on potato, in all its cooking styles.

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Damiana

Damiana, 65, works the land with 2 of her sons. The remaining 4 work in the city but pay their mother a monthly visit. She sometimes travels to Lima to see them but dreams of going to Argentina. Damania eats quinoa thrice a week and her favorite food is the trout.

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Dionicia

Dionicia has always lived in Cabana with her parents. It took her and her husband 3 years to build their house. She harvests over 80 different varieties of quinoa. Her children are now living in Lima and Juliaca. She actually goes to Lima about twice a month but she’d like to visit the USA. Her…

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Mercedes

Mercedes is wearing Cabana’s typical costume for today, she’s attending a dance event. The outfit has been sewn by her neighbor and she’s been wearing it for many years already. Apart from working the land, Mercedes is part of the “Consejo de Vigilancia”, the supervisory committee of the Cooperative. Her favorite food is, with no…

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Gladys

  Gladys lives in Cabana with her husband and their 3 children. Her children, 18, 21 and 26, work in the city but help their parents a lot. Apart from harvesting quinoa and potato, they raise cows, chickens as well as guinea pigs, which they like to eat. Gladys makes her own cheese, which we’ve…

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Eliana

Eliana is the secretary of the “Consejo de Vigilancia”, the supervisory committee of the Cooperative. She chose this position because she loves writing. She’s one of the founders of the Cooperative and spends a lot of time in the fields. She also raises cows and sheep, which leaves her with almost no free time on her…

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Narciso

Narciso is the Vice-President of the “Consejo de Vigilancia”, the supervisory committee of the Cooperative. He harvests quinoa, cañihua and potato. He also raises sheep and cows. He travels as often as he can to Lima and complains about the heat there and how thirsty it makes him! His favourite food is of course “Pesque”, a tasty blend of quinoa, milk and homemade cheese.

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Elena

Elena is 61 years old. She has been working in the fields since she was old enough to tag along with her parents. She’s got 2 sons, one is 20, the other 30, both working in the fields as well. On her free time, Elena loves cooking and knitting. She’s always wearing 4 layers of…

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Johnny

Johnny Johnny looks after the microcredit scheme. Having had some credit issues with the original scheme, they have now joined up with the local Savings Coop to which most of the producers belong. This allows professional financial management of the scheme, with the coop supplying 50% of the capital and the cooperative savings bank providing the other half. Initially funded with 240,000 Peruvian Soles (or about $80,000) this current version of the scheme has lent an average of 1,500 soles each to 180 producers.

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Enrique (7) and Millen (6)

The boys were proud to show off the coops tractors and explained all they knew about them whilst their mum was at the monthly local association meeting at the plant. Monthly meeting of the association On the last day of his visit, James was invited to present our product range and the basis of Fairtrade to one of the sixteen local associations that make up the cooperative.

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Marta Guttierez Castillo

Marta’s top tip is to eat the quinoa plants’ leaves for some added greens, but unless you are growing your own in your back garden then not necessarily applicable. She claims her grandparents lived to almost 100 years old on a quinoa based diet. She believes that people are dying younger these days and that this is down to them eating unhealthy foods such as pasta and rice, which are relatively recent introductions into the Altiplano diet, and not enough quinoa. At least she believes in her own product!

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Tania

Tania is head of quality control at the plant. She was born in Juliaca but followed her father down to the warmer climate of Lima for 10 years when he got a job there. But she longed to return to her roots. She secured a job with the Cooperative in the middle of last year after getting a job with the Cabana municipality.

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Juan 12, Alberto 7, Damaris 10 and Nilmer,7

These are the younger siblings of the troupe of youngsters who are preparing their dance steps for the upcoming carnival. You have to be 13 years old to participate in the dance troupe, so right now they are just eager onlookers. They all admitted that the best thing about the carnival is the food, it’s much more interesting than the actual dancing. Their favourite dish is potatoes, cheese and meat. Nilmer, pictured here on his bike, agrees!

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Juana Sandra Alejo Flores and Renso

This is Juana and Renso. Juana asked if we could send the pictures. She doesn’t know how to use emails or the internet but her oldest son does, so she gave his email. Renso is five years old.

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Juana Soto de Sulca, her daughter Patricia and grandson Christiano (10)

Juana says that she produces quinoa in exactly the same way as her wise grandmother did. She remains impressed by her grandmother’s knowledge. She has 5 children and has lost count of how many grandchildren she now has. Patricia is her only child that has stayed around. Because she doesn’t have enough land to share out to all her children, the others have headed off to the two large cities for alternative careers.

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Lenin & Charval

Charvel and Lenin are Victoria’s sons. Charvel is 5 years old. His favourite drink is coconut water, so it was a happy coincidence that I was there with a few samples of Rebel Kitchens flavoured coconut water for Kids. He tried it and loved the flavour. His favourite game is called ‘fruity fruity’ which involves throwing a ball up in the air and catching it. Lenin is 7 years old. He susses up to the fact that he is not a big fan of the quinoa porridge that his mum serves him up every breakfast. Quinoa obviously not for everyone! His favourite game is one of cat & mouse with a ball, when once you are hit you are dead.

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Luz Helena

Luz Helena is Victoria’s daughter and she is 11 years old. She is very sporty. She is the captain of her school’s volleyball team and she likes playing basketball too. How they run around in the thin air of the Altiplano is a mystery, it could simply be a matter of being born there!

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Lorenzo

Lorenzo is Victoria’s brother. He is with one of his cows that has eaten too much fresh alfalfa. This has created gas in the cows stomach and he already lost a cow to the same problem a month ago. A significant financial loss for a modest farmer. Their cows are usually pegged to a fixed radius via a rope to ensure this doesn’t happen, but that morning he had not planted the stake deep enough and the cow had wandered off into the nearby alfalfa field. Alfalfa is grown for forage but needs to be partially dried before it is suitable for cows.

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Victoria Ribera Avilca

Victoria has 6 children, 40 sheep and 3 cows. Since the creation of the milk cooperative she can take her milk to the side of the road where it is then taken to the simple plant for transformation into fresh cheese to be sold on the local market. By uniting their production they now have sufficient production (about 60 cheeses a day) to make it economic to take them to the local market for sale. Her only complaint against the coop is that it could communicate more often and with greater detail.

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Ruth Ayde (12) & Diana Yamile (4)

Ruth and Diana are grandchildren of Benjamin the plants security guard. Ruth goes to a special college with an emphasis on agronomy but she also loves art and history classes. Her favourite story in history is when Manco Capac founded Cusco. Ruth has never been to Cusco because it is about 6 hours away by bus.

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Alejandria Sulca & Jung

Alejandria has been part of the cooperative for four years now. She is delighted that the cooperative has bought two tractors. It was always very hard to get rental access to machinery because everyone wanted them at the same time. This year she was able to hire a tractor for a few hours and plough her fields and this saved her an immense amount of back breaking work. Jung is three years old.

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Christian & Felicitas

Christian is 12 years old and he loves playing football but he doesn’t know of any European football teams. Felicitas is 16 years old and is more into volleyball. When they go to Juliaca, the big city 45 minutes away, Felicitas likes going into internet cafés. She has a Facebook account, but she admits that she doesn’t post much.

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Margarita Marcelina Neira de Vilca

Margarita Marcelina Neira de Vilca P1060974(1) Margarita is 75 years old and is one of the oldest cooperants. She only has the energy to farm half a hectare of quinoa these days. Her crops too, are pilfered by the ever more present birds. Luckily her field is next to her home so she can sit out with a catapult to scare them away, but she says as soon as she goes in for lunch they come back! She is delighted that the coop has managed to buy a lorry this year. It will avoid her having to take her crop to the plant and she can just load it up straight from her warehouse. She has 7 kids.

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Amelia Royales Molinda

Amelia with her son Enso. As their favourite food is quinoa, they keep a third of their production for their own consumption. The land is owned by the grandfather Don Nicolas, and it is all communally farmed by his children and their families. They would love to know a little more about Europe where their quinoa is sold but know very little about this far away land.

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Lady

Meet the last of Vincente and Amelia’s brood, the talented artist Lady. She was very proud to show me her drawing book – she is particularly keen on drawing flags from around South America but is not familiar with any European ones! Looking forward to her luch of Thai Kids Quinoa and a drink of Mylk from our friends at Rebel Kitchen.

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Judith

Meet Judith, the 2 year old of the family. And look at how beautifully knitted her cardi is- made with home spun wool. Keeps out the bitter cold of the evenings where even in the summer the températures drop to freezing every evening.

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Edison

Edison, the 4 year son of Vincente and Amelia enjoying his school holidays. And looking forward to his lunch of our Tex Mex Kids quinoa and a drink of Mylk from our friends at Rebel Kitchen.

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8 month twins Enso & Dana

Enso & Dana are the two adorable twins of Vincente and Amelia. Looking forward to their first taste of Quinola Mothergrain baby food and some vegetables that you don’t get round here!

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Guillermine Ticona Rotlas de Paricagua

Guillermine has doubled her quinoa crop this year to 2 hectares following strong prices. Unfortunately, her crop has been badly effected by an early frost when the quinoa was starting to grow, but having planted half a field of red quinoa, which is more frost resistant, she is not too worried. Her main worry at the moment is a larvae on her potato field, that comes out at night. Not having an effective organic treatment for this she goes out with her family at night and physically picks them off the leaves. Since the coop bought two tractors she saved herself 4 days of back breaking work ploughing the fields in little time compared to a traditional plough pulled behind a bull.

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Edwin Maldonado

Maldonado is an agronomist that has been working for the cooperative for the last year. He is responsible for 110 cooperants, and spends his days touring the fields and giving suggestions on how to improve or solve any agricultural issues. I happened to be with him when a cow was being bathed in buckets of cold water, having eaten too much fresh alfa alfa. This particular family had already lost a cow the month before, for the same reason, as the fresh alfa alfa creates gases in the cows stomach. Fortunately he was able to advise that massaging the cows sides to get the excess gas out would be more effective than dousing it in buckets of cold water. And you will be glad to hear the cow is still with us!

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Stephanie Roce Guillen

Stephanie Roce Guillen Stephanie is on the coop board- here you can see her in one of her quinoa fields. As bird damage has been increasing of late, with the apparition of bigger pigeons that are not indigenous to the area. Here she shows of the various methods they are trying to scare off the birds- plastic strips and bits of old analogue tape have been placed around the field to scare off the birds. Results so far are mixed, so they are looking at battery operated sonic speakers that make the sounds of birds of prey at intermittent moments. For the fields closer to home a simple catapult does the trick!

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Guillermo & his son Wilfred

Guillermo & his son Wilfred Pictured on their stall at the Cabana annual fiesta. Guillermo is the ex vice-president of the co-operative and has 10 hectares. This makes him one of the biggest local farmers. By being above subsistence levels, Guillermo is more prepared to experiment with new techniques- such as testing the organic fertilizer for its acidity or alkalinity before applying.

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Janet Checca Vernedo & Miguel Angel, 9 months

Janet been a member of the co-op for three years and feeds her son quinoa porridge with real cows’ milk. His favourite vegetable is cauliflower and he loves playing with toy animals. Quinoa success: Quinoa growing is getting better as she has been taught how to weed and apply organic fertilizer properly Future aspirations: When Miguel grows up she would like him to be a professional, as it’s a hard life working in the fields

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Kevin

not to be confused with his colleague that shares the same name, is one of the younger members of the crew. His job today is sticking the labels onto the outside of our boxes- so that shops know what is inside them. First Name : Kevin Favourite Dish : Paella. Favourite Activity : Football Music : NRJ & Fun Radio (french radios) Favourite Tv Show : Camping Paradis

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Bettia and daughter Caterinas, 9 months

Bettia been a member of the co-op for five years; pictured here at the annual Caban festivities Biggest change: buying nappies to use when they are travelling. Bettia makes her soft balls of alpaca wool to play with and feeds her daughter quinoa with bits of fruit chopped into it

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Line

Line is an original spelling of the UK Lynne- so make sure you get her name right! Today she is in charge of sticking the Great Taste stickers onto our boxes. First Name : Line Favourite Dish : cordon bleu escalope & pasta Music : Disco. She loves dancing ! Favourite Movie : La vita è bella Favourite Moment of the Day : Breakfast

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Lina Marin Mananya & Sorieta Mari Cualceuanca

Lina & Sorieta perpare a well deserved lunch for all the harvetsers in the field. With some llama dung and locally found stones they got a roaring oven going in a matter of minutes. In go the potatos, another worlwide staple brought to you from Peru originally, with a healthy slab of cheese from the cows that they also rear.Now that’s what I call a tasty and filling break from the back breaking work of the fields! When they stop for lunch everyone tips the first bit of their drink and food on to the ground as an offering to Pachamama, the earth goddess, in thanks for the food she has provided- a local variant on saying grace as you will. Leisure activities: plays in local volleyball team where they were local champions Children: two of school age Would love...

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Kevin

Here you have Kevin- a name as popular in France as it is in the Uk. His job today is getting all the best before stickers on the bottom of the packs so that they are already to be filled and sealed. First Name : Kevin Favourite Dish : Fish. Favourite Activity : Football. Music : Rock’n’roll Favourite Movies : Action movies !

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Nicole

Nicole is a fairly reserved character, but she obviously lets it all out in the evening where she sings her lungs out! First Name : Nicole Favourite Dish : Shepherds pie Favourite Activity : Choirl Club. They love singing songs by Christophe Maë Favourite Singer : Frédéric François Best Moment of the Day : Evening, before going to sleep

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Zenovia

Say hi to Zenovia, mother to Delia and grandmother to Anthony that you met in the last profile. Zenovia has worked these lands since she was a little girl, but is now grandmother to lots of cuddly bundles! She still helps out on the farm but leaves the heavy lifting to the younger generation and does a fab job of baby sitting the littluns when mum & dad are out in the fields.

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Sébastien

Sébastien is full of enthusiasm and always has lots of questions. He often wonders how he would get around the UK if none of the signs are in French! First Name : Sébastien Favourite Dish : Omnivore, but loves spaghetti Favourite Activity : Petanque or the French versionof bowling! 2nd at French Championship, twice. And he’s going back this year. Role : point counter & thrower of the ‘cochon’ or the little ball that you aim the other at Music : 80’s Favourite Tv Show : All of them. He has a lot of dvd’s, with a preference for science fiction

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Delia Leonor Cuno Medina & Anthony (6 months)

Delia has been a member of the co-op for three years. She previously had to sell quinoa for lower prices to wholesale traders. The latter would come with lorries and offer an all or nothing price around the harvest. And as a small hold farmer you don’t have much negotiating to do. She is proud that her baby has better food than she did as a child, which means he will grow stronger. The other major change is in toys.

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Karine

Fourth up in our series on the packers say hi to Karine. She often struggles to get a word in amongst her chattier co-workers, and is very focused on detail. No substandard box gets through her hands! First Nalme : Karine Favourite Dish : Fresh fish ! Favourite Activity : Basketball. Music : Classical Music Favourite Tv Show : Plus Belle la Vie

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Marine

And third up in our series on our packers is Marine. Always cheerful and full of enthusiasm, she finds it amazing that her work is ending up on shelves across more than 10 countries. And of course she would love to visit the farmers in Peru! First Name : Marine Favourite dish : Mac’ n’ cheese ! Favourite activity : Football & Horse riding Music : Mozart, l’Opéra Rock Favourite Tv Show : Plus Belle la Vie

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Hector Mamamoni and Veritas Chaves

Here you have Hector at his threshing machine- basically a lawn mower motor that seperates the grain from the chaff, after it has been harvested by sicle. Known as a ‘trillador’ the coop is investing in these machines to reduce the time the farmers have to spend threshing at harvets, which is traditionally done by hand with a big stick. Given these machines are worth almost $1000, they are beyond the reach of most small holders, so makes eminent sense to buy them centrally and share them out as part of the advantage of being a member of the cooperative. And yes his hat does look out of place- looks like it should be in Vietnam! But does wonders for protecting from the high UV rays that you get at 4000m above sea level.

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Elodie

Second in our series of mini bios on the dozen people that pack our quinoa in a special facility that helps people with learning difficulties find employment. Elodie has been busy, as you can see from the piles of quinoa boxes behind her! First Name : Elodie Favourite dish : Fish and pasta Favourite activity : Basketball & Football Music : Dance Favourite Tv show : Vampire Diaries

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Patricia

Ok hands up. Patricia is not Peruvian and is not a farmer. But we felt it was important for you to meet some of the other people behind that packet of quinoa you bought. Here at Quinola Mothergrain, we work with a team of packers with learning difficulties. The work is impeccable, and its nice to know that not only is your purchase helping the farmers of Cabana in Peru, but also providing a steady job to a team of a dozen workers in France too. First up on the bios is Patricia, seen here sealing the carboard boxes we pack our products in. First Name : Patricia. Role : Packaging Favourite dish : Filet of herring Favourite activity : Her work Favourite Moment of the Day : Breakfast !

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Feliciano

Feliciano is head of the inspection/oversight board, and here you can see him standing outside the first floor offices of the processing plant. He works part time and on a pro bono basis to make sure that the executives of the coop are doing what they are claiming to do. The farmers’ own policeman if you wish. Feliciano is a bit of an outsider by local standards. He came to Cabana from a town about 2 hours away some 50 years ago. it was then that he fell in love with his lovely wife, who was from cabana, and has lived here ever since. Now that the are a bit older they have sold all their livestock, which has freed up a huge amount of time, and allows him to take on the pro bono work as overseer. But you...

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Victoria Ribera & Lisa

Victoria had come to the plant to sell a bit of quinoa, as all cooperants do when they wish to raise some cash. Once the quinoa has been weighed and accounted for, they get paid in cash at slightly better than market rates. The cooperative then processes the quinoa so it is ready to be eaten, and the profits that the cooperative makes on this part of the business are either re-invested into machinery or distributed back to the farmers. A vote is held at the AGM to decide what is to be done with the surplus. Here you can see them with sieves that the cooperative has bought and is distributing to every cooperant. The idea is that when the quinoa is harvested and threshed, there is a certain pre selection by each producer to take out stones etc,...

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Christina Canassa & her husband Godofrido

  Christina spends most of her time looking after the livestock. She would like to get a bit more mechanisation to plough fields etc but tractors still financially out of reach, so ends up ploughing fields with bullock. 1 hectare takes about 2 days to plough this way , as opposed to a tractor that…

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Neli, Edith & Gabriella (5 months) & Mariana (4 years)

Neli (mum with baby and 4 year old) delighted with higher quinoa prices as she will be bale to afford to send her children to college and higher education in Juliaca- the big smoke some 40 minute combi bus ride away. She has started planting legumes in patches that are fallow to try and enrich…

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Irma

  Irma has 1 hectare of quinoa, which is not looking great as the bare patches that have not been resown when the quinoa didn’t germinate. But Irma has never re-sown a crop, so missing a simple trick of the trade. By providing farmers in the cooperative with some simple yet efffective methods of improving…

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Calixto: head of Quality at the plant

  Calixto is the head of quality in the coop’s processing plant. Here he is standing in front of a bagged shipment of ours, of quinoa that has been fully processed and cleaned. As you can see they take their food standards very serioulsy with everyone working in the plant applying European levels of food…

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Junassandra Alejo Flores

  Junassandra became a memeber of the coop back in 2010, on the back of the newly built processing facility that the coop had just built. By getting the quinoa processed themselves, the memebers of the cooperative  recover some of the profits that would usually be made by middlemen (that have the capital to build…

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Bethy Pari

      Bethy is 17 years old and has justed started university- the first in her family to do so. Although she hopes that some of her brothers (1) and sisters (3) might follow in her footsteps. University has been made possible due to the income her family gets from quinoa. Previously further education…

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Roy- 4 years and growing

  Here you have Roy in his mum’s quinoa field- hanging out after a day at school. Very intrigued by the mocked up version of our forthcoming Kids meal range I brought with me. Roy is 4 years old and an only son (for the time being). Having proudly told me he went to school,…

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Mario Miranda Alejo- the coop President!

Mario is the son of a producer, and has a little land himself. He has been elected to the post of President of the coop for three years and is married with a daughter. His role is full time and focused on the political side of the coop- keeping the members on side, explaining what…

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Meet the Farmers: Nicolasa Flores & Jose Quispe Flain

Nicolasa Flores & Jose Quispe Flain Their family has lived in the area for generations, and as far as they know has always grown quinoa. They joined the co-operative as they did not have the means to transport their crops to Juliaca, the main town about 30 minutes away. They were impressed when the co-op…

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Meet the Farmers: Felicitas

Felicitas Vilka Soto Favourite quinoa recipe: Pipillon de quinoa with fried potatoes, salad and challamita. Leisure time After harvest Felicitas likes relaxing by visiting her son in Arequipa Best treat Her son bought her a mobile phone for her birthday, so she can now speak to himevery week Country she would most like to visit…

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Meet the Farmers… Elizabeth

Have you ever wondered about the Peruvian men and women who grow and process your favourite Quinola Mothergrain? Every month we will be introducing you to the farmers and their families who live and work at 4,000m just north of Lake Titicaca, sharing with you all aspects of their everyday lives, from their favourite quinoa…

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Meet the Farmers: Estefa

Estefa, member of Coop board, pictured on outskirts of Cabana town on way to the quinoa processing plant Speaks Quechua as first language, as do all the farmers in this region Favourite quinoa dish is tostada: fry quinoa for two minutes and mix with honey and chocolate. The Andean version of a Trail Mix bar!…

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Genevieva: meet your farmers

  Meet the farmers: Genevieva   It is harvest time in Cabana ( I have just returned). The quinoa crops this year have not been amazing, due to heavy rainfall in January and a spate of hailstones in April. In Peru the seasons are reversed, given that it is in the southern hemisphere. Yields are…

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