I came across this curious page called www.fairtradecoke.org on twitter recently and decided to follow it up and talk to the author for Ep244 of the Colombia Calling podcast. It was a great pleasure to talk to Dutch Anthropologist Janneke Nijmeijer in Amsterdam about her project and foundation.
For those unaware, Coca grows at an altitude between 500 and 2000 metres, and the Andes mountains of Bolivia, Peru and Colombia offer the perfect climate for cultivating coca. Centuries before cocaine was being discovered, indigenous people across South America consumed coca. The cultivation and consumption has been of cultural and social value, and therefore an important of their economy.
Besides the social and economic importance, coca was also used as a medicine. Coca is a mild stimulant that fights altitude sickness, enhances concentration and is very nutritious, among other things. Because of its medicinal and nutritional qualities indigenous people considered coca to be sacred: la hoja sagrada.
So, tune in to hear more!
Direct download: RCC_244.mp3
-- posted at: 12:19pm EDT