Organic Farmers’ Interest in Quinoa Production in the Western United States

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Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) has risen to superstar status in the health-conscious food world. At the same time, growth in the local food movement has spurred interest in regionally produced foods, including grains and related food crops. This article explores organic farmers’ interest in future quinoa production in the western United States (US). To what degree are western US farmers interested in quinoa production and what might explain such interest? How do interested farmers perceive themselves and what opinions do they have about quinoa demand, production, and consumption? What are interested farmers’ perceptions of the benefits and barriers to growing quinoa in the western US? To answer these questions, we draw on the results from a survey of certified organic farmers in Washington (WA) State, one of the leading US states for quinoa breeding and research. As quinoa consumption and production increase in popularity in the US, it is instructive to understand the extent and drivers of US organic farmers’ interest in growing quinoa in the future. Such understanding can contribute to ongoing discussions about the potential for growth in worldwide quinoa production, as well as the opportunities and challenges associated with growing quinoa in the western US.