Why are superfoods so concentrated in Peru?
The MyRoots Theory.
Born Lima, Peru
Founder of MyRoots
When I was a young child, I often travelled with my father to the Peruvian Andes and Amazon rainforest. At the time, my father worked for the state-owned petroleum company, and travelling to remote parts of the country was part of his everyday work – I was happy to go along for the ride. It was in one of those trips that I tried my first Camu Camu berry. At the time, Camu Camu, like most other Peruvian superfoods, was virtually unheard of outside of the country. Similarly, though quinoa has been a staple that is widely given to Peruvian babies as one of their first foods, it remained an exotic luxury in other parts of the world until relatively recently.
Superfoods have now moved beyond the exotic. They are consumed by anyone seeking to lead a healthier lifestyle through nutrition. However, their origin remains relatively underexplored. We often hear of biodiversity as an explanation for how superfoods came to be. But why do so many superfoods come from Peru? We at MyRoots Superfoods do not think that biodiversity alone explains the very high concentration of superfoods and their nutrients that are found in Peru.
Here is our interpretation:
Agriculture began around 9,000 to 10,000 years ago, independently in the Fertile Crescent, China and Peru. The peoples of these places began domesticating their plants and animals to adapt them to the characteristics they needed the most, and to adjust to their terrain, climate and the needs of their populations.
The Fertile Crescent and China, while facing some terrain challenges, had 10% and 15% respectively of arable land with vast areas of flatlands where cultivation and achieving large crops was easier. In Peru though, the arable lands represented less than 1.5% of the territory. This included the extensive terraces (called Andean) that were built into much of the mountainous terrain. We believe that it is this lack of terrain suitable for agriculture that forced the men and women of Peru to cultivate the best bulk foods that they could in the scarce flatlands they had. This food included things that are since widely cultivated in the rest of the world like potatoes, corn and avocados. In the scarce land of their Andean, they cultivated some of the most impressive and precious superfoods like Maca, Quinoa, Chia, Kiwicha, Cacao, Lucuma, Yacon and Camu Camu.
Visiting remote areas of the country, I have experienced the profound observation, knowledge and respect that Peruvian men and women have for their roots, the land, the plants, the seasons and all living beings. I believe these qualities helped our ancestors to isolate and cultivate the best of the best. Natural selection and evolution can take millions of years to take a good food and turn it into a superfood. This is where the loving, knowledgeable and respectful human hands of Peruvian farmers started to work with the roots of the great plants that nature had provided them. From thousands of crops, they selected the very best each time for cultivating. In each successive crop, they isolated the healthiest plants with the best roots, produce and with the highest nutritious values, and got the seeds from them. These would be planted at the right time of the year, in the right lands, at the correct altitude and with the right biomass surrounding them to nourish their roots and produce the next crop, where the selection of the very best would occur again. Through thousands of crops and many many years, superfoods were developed that would have otherwise taken nature on its own millions of years to produce. Through this respectful collaboration between nature and the roots of the Peruvian farming civilization, superfoods began to evolve and the territory with such poor land mass was able to support the largest empire in pre-Columbian America.
Beyond sustenance, the knowledge and understanding of the land and its crops allowed Peruvian shamans (sacred healers) to unlock the mysteries of the most powerful and magical plants like the Ayahuasca, Coca, Mezcaline and San Pedro. These are plants that concentrate powers in their roots and fruits to transcend the world of the everyday and step into the supernatural.
With respect and passion, we at MyRoots Superfoods try to capture our agricultural ancestor's love, knowledge and respect for the land and its fruits. Like my father, we travel throughout the country, directly to the source to offer you superfoods in their purest form.
Through our roots, you are invited to explore and reinforce your own roots, and create the best and healthiest expression of you.
From the plants’ roots, to the roots of an entire civilization; from MyRoots to your roots.