Many quinoa-lovers have hit the existential skids recently, thanks to a story in England’s Guardian about the supposedly negative effects of buying imported quinoa.
“The appetite of countries such as ours for this grain has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it.”
This was one of several stories in the last few years published by the likes of NPR, Associated Press, and the New York Times. Some, like the Guardian, went to the extreme of guilt-tripping readers against buying imported quinoa. The idea that worldwide demand for quinoa is causing undue harm where it’s produced is an oversimplification at best. At worst, discouraging demand for quinoa could end up hurting producers rather than helping them.
Most of the world’s quinoa is grown on the altiplano, a vast, cold, windswept and barren 14,000-foot Andean plateau spanning parts of Peru and Bolivia. Quinoa is one of the few things that grows there, and its high price means more economic opportunities for the farmers in one of the poorest parts of South America.
An analysis by Emma Banks for the Andean Information Network responds to many of these quinoa questions with nuance largely absent from the press reports.
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 February 2013 20:06
The Winter Artwalk in Downtown Billings will be held on Friday, Feb. 1, from 5-9 pm. Galleries, all locally run businesses, will present new works by area visual artists.
Refreshments, live music, raffles for gifts from galleries, art demonstrations, the artists on hand to discuss their work and a great way to chase away the winter blues all are good reasons to join the party. The Artwalker bus, a free two-hour tour of the Artwalk galleries sponsored by Walker’s Grill will begin at the Good Earth Market at 5 p.m. and 7 pm.
Maps are available at all of the galleries and give the bus stop schedule. Maps can also be downloaded by visiting artwalkbillings.com or see the map on Page 17 of this issue.
Artwalk will feature a fund raising event for the Venture Theater during the evening. Artwalkers may stop by the Kennedy Stained Glass and purchase a raffle ticket with a donation of $5 or more for a chance to win a piece of bevel and clear textured stained glass, handmade by Susan Kennedy Sommerfeld and her staff.
Among the highlights, Stephen Haraden Studio presents his new paintings. Purple Sage Gallery features the work of oil painter, graphic designer and illustrator, Thomas English.
Last Updated on Thursday, 31 January 2013 12:35
“The party’s over ...” croon Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Doris Day, and several others. That could be the theme song for January in Montana.
Christmas, New Year and Epiphany are just memories. The sun goes down early and comes up late and it’s cold, cold, cold. But Ol’ Man Winter doesn’t have to call the shots. Here are some fun activities, both inside and out, to beat the blahs.
Almost for free
1. Reread your favorite childhood book. Mine is “The Secret Garden.” I read it every year when I was home from school with the flu. Or wend your way through a difficult book that you always promised yourself you’d read.
2. Fresh snowfall? Make a snow angel. Try to get up without destroying your creation. If the snow will pack, build a snowman and then paint it by squirting on water and food coloring.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 10:37
If you want to bury an unsavory news story, the afternoon before Christmas vacation is a good time to break it. The Food and Drug Administration chose Dec. 21 to release its long awaited Environmental Assessment of the genetically modified “AquAdvantage” salmon.
This move quietly slid the fish closer to making history as the first GM animal approved for human consumption. The public was given 60 days to comment, beginning winter solstice, 2012, on a farmed salmon that salmon farmers won’t be allowed to raise in the U.S., but Americans would nonetheless be allowed to eat.
If the announcement’s timing suggests FDA wants the application to flow smoothly, also consider that it has been 17 years since AquaBounty first applied for permission to sell its recombinant Atlantic salmon in the U.S. The company has paid a heavy regulatory price for trying to be first.
The slow and meandering path of the fish’s approval process owes more to agency machinations than any prevailing ideology. Four years is just enough time to settle into a new course before a new administration takes over and replaces your boss and, possibly, your agenda.
During the Bush II, FDA announced it would regulate AquAdvantage salmon as an animal drug rather than food, perhaps in hopes of expediting the process. More recently, according to a hypothesis espoused by Jon Entine in Slate, officials in President Obama’s inner circle conspired to delay the salmon’s approval for political gain.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 January 2013 11:42
BOZEMAN – Eric Funk doesn’t have an iPod, but he’s pretty sure his head works like one.
“Composers are like iPods, only they are filled with their own music,” said the award-winning performer and composer, who recently also won one of Montana State University’s top teaching awards
“At any one time, there are three or four compositions in my head, fighting to get out. So, you need to take time to intentionally listen, really listen, to the music that’s playing (in order to get it out).”
Finding that time can be a problem for Funk, who might be one of Montana’s busiest people. The namesake, creative director and driving force behind the award-winning “11th & Grant with Eric Funk,” he is also a popular jazz musician, performer, recording artist, conductor, band director and church musical director.
He has six CDs featuring his original work and recorded by symphonies and orchestras around the world. His compositions have been performed twice at Carnegie Hall, and he has been featured on National Public Radio, CBS Sunday Morning and in the New York Times.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 January 2013 11:06
“Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways,” by Valerie Hemingway. Ballantine Books. $16.
Valerie Danby-Smith lived most of the first 17 years of her life in St. Mary’s Dominican Convent, Cabra, in Dublin, where the days was largely silent and highly regimented. It was no surprise that after leaving the convent, followed by secretarial school, she longed for some excitement.
At a friend’s suggestion, she found a post tutoring the children of an affluent Spanish family, a family with connections in journalism. And Spain more than lived up to her expectations.
She attended her first bullfight on Easter Sunday 1959, and immediately loved it. “Here in the bullring was everything I sought, the parallel to my beloved Dublin theatre,” she wrote. “I determined whenever possible corrida would be my entertainment.”
In May of that year, the young nanny cum reporter was asked to interview Ernest Hemingway. She had read several of his books but knew little else about him. They were an odd couple: a 19-year-old with little life experience and an eccentric, celebrated author approaching 60.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 January 2013 11:46
Montana Silversmiths celebrates 40 years in business in 2013 by launching new products and collections inspired by the company’s history and heritage of the Old West.
Special product releases in 2013 include new design collections across all Montana Silversmiths product lines including western stock and trophy buckles, jewelry, Montana Lifestyles and silver trim.
To headline the new design collections, Montana Silversmiths is producing a square shaped buckle, engraved on front and back and sold in a wood display box etched with the 40th anniversary logo on the glass lid. Silver products produced during the year will be stamped with the 40th anniversary Montana Silversmiths identification on the back.
The 2013 Signature catalog, shipped to dealers in January, 2013, features new branding design and striking environmental, model and product photography. Special collections are displayed together for impact, in addition, company and product information is expanded to better aid retailers with customer service and sales.
New design collections will include products released throughout the year, including the annual Signature catalog publication as well as the Holiday catalog release in mid-summer.
Last Updated on Saturday, 29 December 2012 15:31
Marilyn Bartlett, chief financial officer for EBMS and a member of the EBMS Executive Committee, is the inaugural recipient of the Montana Society of CPAs Outstanding CPA in Business and Industry Award.
The award recognizes the achievements of certified public accountants employed in business, industry, nonprofit and government.
According to a news release issued by the MSCPA, Bartlett is a past-president and “much-loved” member of MSCPA, and received the award “because of the professionalism she has shown, as well as her many contributions to the profession.” The news release also said, “Very few CPAs are as respected or well-known by their peers as is Marilyn Bartlett.”
Reidun Johnston, a CPA from Missoula and chairman of the MSCPA Industry Group, said, “Marilyn is an inspiration to me and many others. She has forged the way as a leader in a profession that, until recently, didn’t have women leaders. She has made a difference for us all.”
Also at EBMS, Cheryl Lewis, a registered nurse and case manager, and Lori Buxbaum, a registered nurse and CareLink intake/coordinated care supervisor, both in the Case Management Program of the EBMS CareLink Department, have earned the Commission for Case Manager Certification credential, a news release said.
Last Updated on Saturday, 29 December 2012 15:30
Jeremiah Rouane has been named vice president for commercial banking at Rocky Mountain Bank.
Mr. Rouane will work with businesses, providing them with capital needed to grow their operations, invest in new equipment and create jobs to spur local economic development.
“We are excited to welcome Jeremiah to Rocky Mountain Bank,” said Stephen Casher, the bank’s market president. “His extensive banking background, with notable successes in commercial banking and other areas, make him a perfect fit for this vital role with us.”
Rouane brings 14 years of experience in commercial and business banking. Previously, he served as assistant vice president, commercial loan officer at First Interstate Bank.
He holds a degree in business administration from Montana State University Billings.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 December 2012 15:29
MISSOULA – Montana’s economy could be significantly impacted by expansion at its existing coal mines and development of new mines, according to a study recently completed by The University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
Expansion of the Spring Creek coal mine near Decker would boost Montana jobs, household income and tax revenues, according to an economic impact study conducted by BBER economist Patrick Barkey.
According to the report, “The Economic Impact of Increased Production at the Spring Creek Mine,” commissioned by the Montana Chamber of Commerce, a proposed increase of coal production by 20 million tons at the mine owned by Cloud Peak Energy would more than double output at the facility and require expansion in capital and equipment, labor force and new purchases of resources such as electricity and work uniforms.
The study found that with a status-quo, no-expansion scenario, by 2018 the project is expected to create 1,421 permanent jobs across a wide range of industries and occupations in all regions of the state. Income for Montana households would collectively increase by more than $58 million.
Projected state government tax revenues on coal production and growth in Montana’s tax base were estimated to reach more than $55 million per year.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 December 2012 15:23