Amaranth: Another Ancient Wonder Food, But Who Will Eat It?
An ancient, nutritious crop might make a comeback in Oaxaca.
Amaranth is a broad-leafed, bushy plant that grows about six feet (1.8 meters) tall. It produces a brightly colored flower that can contain up to 60,000 seeds. The seeds are nutritious and can be made into a flour. Not a true grain, amaranth is often called a pseudocereal, like its relative quinoa. Both plants belong to a large family that also includes beets, chard, spinach, and lots of weeds.
There are around 60 different species of amaranth, and a few of them are native to Mesoamerica. For the last decade, the Oaxaca-based advocacy group Puente a la Salud Comunitaria (Bridge to Community Health) has been working to promote the plant's virtues.
Pete Noll, the group's executive director, argues that his work