Funnily, I literally spoke to Raj Patel this evening specifically about quinoa. Most of what’s sold to us is a different variety than what the indigenous population eats so that’s a misleading concern, the main ecological danger comes from the deforestation of the Amazon to facilitate this kind of agriculture. If one is going to be concerned about the ethical ramifications of buying quinoa, it follows to also be concerned about the poor working conditions of the people who grow our coffee, tomatoes, and virtually everything else we eat. The vast majority of peasant farmers don’t make a living wage, that situation isn’t specific to quinoa production at all. It’s very difficult to make a moral purchase in this country, for instance, where did the clothes we’re wearing come from? And as far as the bizarre anti-vegetarian tone to this article, one could ship a barrel of quinoa around the planet 3 times and the product still wouldn’t have the carbon footprint of a steak. Actually shipping food is a very, very small portion of agriculture’s greenhouse gas contribution (http://i.imgur.com/y6O22Fb.jpg). If you were to disregard the cultural impact, quinoa (and vegan diets in general) are far and above more ecologically friendly than diets which include red meat. No contest there. Quinoa is an easy backseat-activism target, but in reality, if people really wanted to have a substantial positive impact on poor people and the environment they would stop driving their fossil fuel powered cars.