French Quinoa d’Anjou was developed by Wageningen University researchers crossing Ecuadoran and Chilean quinoa varieties using traditional plant breeding techniques.
The non-patented seeds are currently grown by farmers in France’s Anjou and Loire regions through the Coopérative agricole des Pays de la Loire (CAPL).
The founder of Quinoa Crack, Jason Abbot, a US entrepreneur who started a food company that makes cereal using the ingredient said that growing quinoa in Europe for the European market, rather than shipping it across the Atlantic, is a sustainability success story.
In addition to the positive environmental impact that comes from growing the ‘exotic’ crop closer to its European buyers, Abbot told FoodNavigator that diversifying from monoculture crops typical in this region of France boosts soil health.
“Our priority was to provide our farmers with alternative crops, putting them on a good track to sustainability,” he said.
“People might not understand it but these farmers are in a vicious cycle of monoculture and intensive agriculture. By having alternative crops for European farmers to grow means they don’t wear out the ground with wheat, corn and then more wheat and corn.
“[…] As we develop the market for European-grown quinoa, that develops the opportunities for more diversified crops and crop rotation, which is the basis of sustainable farming.”