Miguelita tells her story

$225 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 4 people in 9 months
Miguelita remembers her father loading up the llamas with sacks of quinoa and blocks of salt, hand cut from the salt flats, and her, 8 years old, traveling by llama train for two weeks walking across the vast Uyuni salt flats and Andes mountaintops to Chile.  Sleeping out under the stars.  Eating dry, ground toasted quinoa.  

She remembers painting the skin around the llama's eyes black so they did not get blinded by the harsh sun glare of the stark white salt flats.  She remembers the llama leather shoes her father made for her and the leather boots that he used to protect the llama's soft feet from the biting salts.  The quinoa and salt were traded for pears and sweet fruits - no currency was exchanged, no passports used. 

Today she honors these memories and continues in the way of her ancestors, to painstakingly hand hoe acres of harsh, dry mountainside soils to plant, nurture and harvest the same Royal Quinoa as her ancestors.  

Royal Quinoa
, the mother of all quinoa, was given to the Bolivians as a gift from the Gods after their seas dried up, at what once may have the ancient city of Atlantis and is now the Uyuni salt flats.  It only grows in the salty, volcanic sands surrounding the massive salt flats. Royal Quinoa has the highest protein and mineral content of any grain in the world and is a whole food due to the complexity of amino acids in each seed.

When the Gods gave the Bolivians Royal Quinoa, they instructed them to cultivate it for the world.  They foretold of deep changes to come, a "pachacuti" earth shift.  And the Bolivians have done so, carefully blessing the seed and earth before planting and blessing the plant before harvesting.  

This twice blessed, organic, hand cultivated Royal Quinoa worked its way into markets and hearts worldwide. The United Nations declared 2013 the International Year of  Quinoa , Bolivia exported hundreds of tons of quinoa and increasing national consumption too.

Soon people worldwide were experimenting with new ways to cultivate this ancient sacred grain.  Peru mechanized their production taking a chemical, agro-industry approach,  as did Canada the US, France, and Australia.  Conventional Quinoa flooded world markets driving down the price of quinoa - to the detriment of the original Royal Quinoa farmers.

Bolivia's original Royal Quinoa farmers continued to carefully grow their sacred quinoa in the ancient, organic ways but could not compete with industrialized agriculture markets.   The global market prices they were forced to sell their rare, sacred grain at did not cover their costs of production. Bolivia's original Royal Quinoa farmers became worse off.

Today's once thriving quinoa villages of 2013 are now ghost towns of empty homes, unplanted fields, and vacant schools.  Climate change and global markets are devastating the Royal Quinoa industry and now threaten the original farmers themselves.  

The Andean Nations and Europe recognized this and in 2017, granted Bolivia a Certificate of Origin for Royal Quinoa that protects the sacred uniqueness of this seed - in its superior qualities, nutrition, culinary appeal and cultural heritage.  Can this save the ancient people and mother of all grain - the gift from the Gods that was to meant to save humanity?  

Follow us on a winding journey across the high Andes to the ancient salt flats to meet the original Royal Quinoa
farmers, their llama herds, handbuilt adobe kitchens where countless meals of quinoa and llama are prepared from ancestral recipes, and where ceremony and daily life merge.  Help us capture a glimpse of a world blessed by the Pachamama, Earth Mother, and lived in with humble reverence under the shadows of great volcanoes and a future of uncertainty.

We are:
Dr. Tamara Stenn a Fulbright scholar, and US college professor,  studying the impact the quinoa production has on women farmers 
Bill Totolo a California documentary filmmaker.
The thousands of villagers and farmers of Bolivia's Royal Quinoa zone.

Together we are asking you to help us to produce this documentary film, a website, and open source educational materials which will be used in classrooms around the world to support lessons in climate change, culture, sustainability and Bolivia's  Royal Quinoa.

Filming to start May 2018.
#quinoamovie  #RoyalQuinoa

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Bolivia's 2016 quinoa harvest came in at a 20% loss due to drought. Market prices still are still falling as Bolivia's hand grown, organic quinoa struggles to compete with industrialized, chemical production elsewhere. Yet the soul and spirit of the Andes, the deep reverence for Pachamama, mother earth, keep the farmers going. This movie will bring us into the hearts and homes of Bolivia's ancient quinoa growers. The keepers of this ancient grain believed to be a gift from the gods.
Victor & Rosa Choquetopa harvest quinoa
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The economic concepts of markets is never so clearly shown as in this unique case study of Royal Quinoa. A true “robin hood” story – it shows how livelihoods can shift from impoverished farmers living on less than $2 a day to being wealthier than the middle class and then returning to impoverishment once again - in just a few years. A phenomenal case study, this explores product life cycles from the “discovery” of Bolivian quinoa as a high protein solution in the boom for gluten free, vegetarian eating to its growth spurred on by the United Nation’s 2013 International Year of Quinoa Photo: Felix and his Aymara family take a break from hand hoeing their highland quinoa fields in Lluvica, Potosi.
Traditional housing - remote quinoa area
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We are getting so close! The July date is just about confirmed in Bolivia. People are wanting to know more about the Bolivia Royal Quinoa and here's our chance to let the story loose. Fulbright is on board, Bill has his crew and equipment together, the farmers are waiting... now is the time to support this with funding.
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While we're working to get this movie funded - we're also working with Bolivia's women knitters. Our new sweaters are out - the BEST alpaca sweater, ever! Come see: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kusikuy/best-alpaca-sweater-ever-eco-soft-versatile-blesse?ref=user_menu
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$225 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 4 people in 9 months
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Jan Szostek
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