Amid the challenge of increasing production of quality food in the context of climate change, the world’s population is increasingly looking to quinoa—the ancient grain of the Incas—as one solution to those countries suffering from food insecurity.

The United Nations General Assembly thus declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa, launched February 20, in recognition of ancestral practices of the Andean people, who have managed to preserve quinoa, a high-protein whole grain, in its natural state as food for present and future generations.

Indian Harvest, the foodservice industry’s best-known supplier of exotic and heirloom grains, grain blends, beans, and legumes, joins the United Nations’ initiative by showcasing the high nutrition and cooking versatility of quinoa via a range of promotions through the end of 2013 and beyond.

They include a focused customer strategy; the use of interactive social-media platforms; educational programming for students enrolled in K-12 through college; and menu-concept development inspired by prevailing and emerging ingredient, flavor, cooking, and health trends.

“Quinoa is the only grain that is a complete protein containing all eight amino acids essential to optimum health, which is why nutritionists commonly refer to it as a ‘super grain,’” says Michael Holleman, Indian Harvest’s director of culinary development.

“Although quinoa is native to countries of the Andean region, its cultivation has transcended continental boundaries to embrace North America and Europe, while showing promise in Africa and India,” he adds. “Through quinoa, Indian Harvest enthusiastically supports the United Nations in exploring meaningful, long-lasting solutions to world hunger.”

The U.N.’s International Year of Quinoa constitutes the first step in an ongoing process to focus world attention on the role that quinoa’s biodiversity and nutritional value play in providing food security, as well as promoting health and poverty eradication.

The initiative is expected to be a catalyst to enable the exchange of information and generate medium- and long-term programs and projects for the sustainable development of the cultivation of quinoa globally.

Indian Harvest offers Bolivian quinoa in white, red, and black varieties, produced on arid, high-altitude salt plains by small, family farms.

Tri-Color Quinoa, introduced in 2012, is available through Indian Harvest Boutique. All four quinoa offerings are naturally gluten free.

Additionally, signature grain products featuring quinoa include Golden Jewel Blend, Mountain Red Blend, Rio Medley, and Sunrise Blend with Quinoa Flakes.