Este miembro participó en las siguientes discusiones
Healthy, local food is first in an on-going consumers´campaign of the civil society in Ecuador: Campaign How Delicious
More than a decade ago, a national movement in Ecuador of smallholders was initiated to promote the production from integrated farms using sustainable techniques, without importation of fertilizers or insecticides based on fossil fuels. The Agro-ecological Collective was supported by NGOs whose work was focused in rural communities, particularly in vulnerable zones of the country with high indigenous populations. A gender perspective oriented activities, given the high percentage of women-headed households due to men´s leaving the communities in search of work in other zones of the country, other countries, often in the urban sector.
Considering the food system and chain, the collective was successful in training members in agricultural techniques that emphasized soil management and the production of diversified products. The weakness was in commercialization and consumption. Although the smallholders had an abundance of healthy foods for their own use and for sale, they were neither consuming the produce nor did they have markets for their sale.
Thus the collective chose to include a new theme in their activities, the theme of commercialization and consumption. The obstacle the collective came upon was the NGOs mandate to gear their work in rural areas, while most commercialization and consumption needed to be directed to the urban sector.
In the meantime Via Campesina began proposing the concept of food sovereignty -- that consumers be in control of their consumption through making informed choices. Working toward food sovereignty made a lot of sense in Ecuador, where many nutrition problems were not merely based of lack of macro and micronutrient deficiencies like they had been in the past, but on the transformed food patterns. People were moving toward modern, urban consumption patterns, relying on processed foods that are bringing about the second burden of malnutrition and an increase in non-communicable diseases. Ecuador´s government began talking about food sovereignty, and yet had no policies or implementation plans to bring about food sovereignty among the population.
The Agro-ecological Collective stepped in, heading a commission in the government geared toward informing smallholders who also eat as well as urban consumers. The commission was short-lived without solid government support, but the resultant movement “QUE RICO ES” www.quericoes.org continues to gain more and more strength. “Que Rico Es” means How Delicious and is a 100% civil society organization. The campaign promotes eating fresh, agro-ecological food brought in from the rural for sale in urban areas. Only smallholders, and their cooperatives are able to sell directly to the public, minimizing final costs to the consumer. Quickly these agro-ecological markets have caught on nationally; there are more than 210 such markets in little Ecuador presently. The population learns about the advantages of eating local produce thanks to the media campaign 250,000 families – we eat healthy, delicious food from our land.
A key element in the consumer campaign is the reliance on social media. Forty radio 8 minute programs were and continue to be aired over the entire country, two radio shows air once a week (both are geared toward uniting the countryside with the city, with exposure of experts, homemakers, cooks, all of us who eat), an on-line bulletin is posted periodically, many Whatsapp groups exist uniting families and general consumers around food issues. For example, a new smallholder learned of the movement and now has found markets for his Andean product (amaranths, both beige and black) through Facebook and now the Whatsapp group he is part of.
Just as the food it promotes, the movement is sustainable, amassing the commitment of people who care that their food be good, clean and just. They set up relationships with their neighbors, colleague, friends and act as transforming agents as they transform their own habits within the food system.
In Ecuador we think food is central to the changing rural-urban dynamics. And we also enjoy sharing, cooking, and eating within the How Delicious movement -- 250,000 families of us.
Rather than the customary overnight soak, a one hour soak is an effective tool to increase the consumption of pulses in countries south of the equator. Perhaps in northern countries such a technique is not effective, but in countries where the majority of the population cooks from scratch what they eat and easily spends over an hour in cooking the main meal, diminishing the soaking time and thus the necessity to remember to put the pulses on to soak the night before, presents a viable option to the cook. In my work in WFP in school feeding programs, once the community members learned to soak pulses for one hour in water in which they had boiled for merely two minutes, pulse consumption increased significantly.
USAID´s and US universities are justified in their reservation to promote pulse consumption through the one hour soak technique WHEN THINKING OF THE US POPULATION. However, when considering the world´s population who can benefit through increased pulse consumption, the one hour soak technique can be a very effective tool. It requires no additional research time. All that is necessary are communication campaigns.
To increase pulse consumption, the difficulty of the long overnight soak can be reduced by a quick soak technique I have been teaching for decades. Many community women, as well as women from marginal, urban neighborhoods cook pulses more frequently now that they have learned the technique. Unfortunately I do not have documentation to prove the fact; they, however do say that at the altitude of Quito, Ecuador and rural areas in the Andes they are now eating more dried “leguminosas” they call them. Before they say they would have cooked them once a week or once a fortnight, and that now they are eating them as often as three times a week.
Given the lower boiling point at the altitude, and thus longer cooking time, traditionally the culinary culture consumed fresh pulses, particularly fava beans and peas, but beans (Phaseolus) as well. Thus traditional cooking techniques made use of the quicker cooking fresh product, rather than the dried one.
Quick soak method:
Cover picked over dried beans with water (approximately 2 cups of beans to 2 to 3 liters of water). Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 1 to 5 minutes. (thinner-skinned pulses require less simmering than thicker-skinned varieties). Remove from heat, cover, set aside and let soak for at least 1 hour. Drain and use the quick-soaked pulse like any soaked pulse. (By draining the first water, flatulence is also diminished.)
Sorry, I wrote this response in Word and pasting it on the website seems to have changed its format. Plese let me know if the response is legible.