Posts Tagged ‘Bolivia’


Papalo: Smells like a skunk, but adds unique flavor

Pin It

By Catherine Ward

Papalo (Porophyllum ruderale subsp. Macrocephalum) is still a relatively obscure plant to many Americans; however it is slowly gaining popularity in New York kitchens as immigrant farmers increasingly grow the herb and sell it in markets. Papalo is an ancient plant that is found throughout Mexico, the American Southwest and other South American countries. The stems and leaves of papalo were used as a condiment in Mexico before the colonization of the Spanish in the 16th century. Today, papalo is so popular in the state of Puebla, Mexico that people keep a bouquet of the herb on tables so it can be added fresh to dishes as desired. The name papalo is derived from the Nahuatl language and means butterfly, which could be attributed to the butterfly-shaped leaves of the herb.

People living in Mexico, Central, and South America commonly use papalo as medicine for high blood pressure and stomach disorders (Photo credit: Chef Jacques Gautier)

Papalo has a very unique flavor that has been described as tasting like a mixture of cilantro, argula and mint. And some people claim that the herb smells like laundry detergent or soap. The leaves of the plant have oil glands that produce chemicals used to deter insects, which is the reason behind the very distinct smell and flavor of papalo. The plant is often referred to as mampuitu in Spanish, which translates to skunk in honor of its pungent aroma.

The herb is usually eaten raw as a garnish in many central Mexican dishes and is particularly favored on cemitas (a type of Mexican sandwich). Papalo is also believed to have medicinal benefits according to some cultures. People living in Mexico, Central and South America commonly use papalo as medicine for high blood pressure and stomach disorders. In Bolivia, the Chacobo Indians utilized the herb on infected injuries to reduce swelling. The Quechua people consume papalo daily as they believe it reduces high blood pressure and treats liver problems. While Papalo is an interesting herb that is steadily gaining popularity in American cuisine due to its unusual flavor, it remains an important part of people’s daily diets in countries such as Mexico and Bolivia because of its medicinal properties.

Catherine Ward is a research intern with the Nourishing the Planet project.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE.



First Peoples Worldwide Awards Over US$1 Million in Grants to Indigenous Communities

Pin It

By Sophie Wenzlau

This past July, First Peoples Worldwide (FPW) reached a milestone of US$1.2 million in grants awarded “directly to Indigenous projects, programs, and communities” around the world. First Peoples, an international, Indigenous-led advocacy organization, seeks to promote economic determination and strengthen Indigenous communities by awarding grants directly to Indigenous Peoples. To fulfill these objectives, the organization provides “Indigenous Peoples with the tools, information and relationships they need to build community capacity to leverage assets for sustainable economic development.”

First Peoples Worldwide has surpassed $1 million in grants to Indigenous organizations. (Image credit: FPW)

According to the United Nations’ State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, “Indigenous Peoples all over the world continue to suffer from disproportionally high rates of poverty, health problems, crime, and human rights abuses.” In the United States, for example, Indigenous Peoples are 600 times more likely to contract tuberculosis and 62 percent more likely to commit suicide than the general population. Worldwide, Indigenous Peoples’ life expectancy is 20 years lower than the non-Indigenous average.

Despite these sobering statistics, Indigenous Peoples are responsible for some of the most vibrant and diverse cultures on earth. Of the world’s 7,000 languages, the UN estimates that over 4,000 are spoken by Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous communities are also strongholds of traditional knowledge, preserving ancient technologies, skills, and beliefs.

The grants awarded by FPW have funded innovative projects in countries like Botswana, Bolivia, Ghana, and Sri Lanka, and have focused on topics as diverse as land reclamation, water development, and traditional medicine.

In Ghana, FPW funded a project designed to prevent wild elephants from destroying farms located along the boundaries of Kakum National Park. The Association of Beekeepers in Ghana, the organization that received the grant, developed the novel idea of constructing a beehive barrier along the community’s perimeter. According to FPW, “the presence of the hives has naturally prevented elephants from crossing the grounds, and the honey production has increased income for farmers through sales, which has improved local commerce.”



Good Samaritans Help Feed Those in Need

Pin It

By Graham Salinger

In the mountainous rural communities of  Bolivia, thousands of children receive food through a school feeding program implemented by Samaritan Purse. Samaritan Purse is a faith-based organization that has been working since 1970 to support communities impacted by natural disaster, war, disease, and famine. Through food security programs, Samaritan Purse works to bring nutritious food to impoverished communities while helping them develop economically sustainable agricultural practices.

Samaritan Purse programs help people in regions suffering from food crises. (Photo credit: Samaritan Purse)

In Bolivia, where 23 percent of the population is undernourished, the school feeding program  delivers food to72 rural schools while  helping farmers who struggle to grow crops. Many children, up to 30 percent in the Chucananqu region, do not have access to milk, eggs, or meat. Through the school feeding program, which purchases food from local businesses, 28,000 children under the age of 14 receive food that is high in protein, fiber, and essential vitamins.

Two of the businesses that supply food for the program were set up by Samaritan Purse. The Andean Grains Processing Center processes local crops that are brought in by local families and then purchased for the feeding program. Samaritan Purse also built a meat processing center that helps local herders sell their food. The Samaritan Purse also trains parents to prepare healthy meals for their children. Through this initiative they created a cookbook with recipes using local food. Samaritan Purse also helps parents track their children’s nutritional health by training more than 580 local volunteers to record the children’s height and weight every month.



NtP in Bolivia’s El Diario

Pin It

Check out our latest opinion editorial about rising food prices, published in El Diario, Bolivia’s largest newspaper. El Diario Bolivia Nourishing the Planet food pricesThe article highlights innovative initiatives, including school feeding programs and climate-friendly agriculture in Bolivia and across sub-Saharan Africa that can help address the ongoing food price crisis.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.