10 Feb From Fence Post to Feeding in a Short time! by Gordon Clark, H4H Board member and Horticultural advisor
Hopefully, people reading the Harvesting 4 Haiti blogs, newsletters, posts, and website know at least a little bit about Moringa..aka The Miracle Plant. If not, you haven’t been paying attention or you are new to the blog. If this is your first read: welcome!
To review (there may be pop quiz later): The leaves of moringa are packed full of nutrition, including complete protein, much more vitamin A than carrots, more vitamin C than oranges, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Whew, that’s a lot of stuff packed into a leaf.
All parts of the plant can be eaten and research continues to discover new properties such as anti- inflammatory, anti-fungal, high in antioxidants, anti-bacterial, regrows hair on balding men (not really but I can wish, can’t I?), purifies water, anti-cancer, and its low in cholesterol…and it tastes like leaves. Ok, so it is an acquired taste.
The PHF team in Haiti has planted 47 moringa trees on Farm 3 , 47, Farm 4 has 13, and 157 on Farm 6! What’s awesome about planting, is that big moringa sticks are poked into the ground like fence posts and very quickly they sprout leaves and take root. Instant success! Having worked around apple trees in short-season Massachusetts, I could only wish we could do the same with fruit in temperate climates.
What are the next steps? Drying processing, and marketing. We probably should have come up with a business plan first, (ya think?) It is obvious it can be grown successfully and the trees will now get some size before harvesting too much.
Based on successful projects in other countries, it will be introduced into nutrition programs into the area. Appropriate equipment is being developed to wash the leaves, dry the leaves and squeeze the oil out of the seeds; all with hand or bicycle power. More about that later.
POP: Here’s the quiz
- Moringa can grow hair on a cue ball: True of false (duh)
- Moringa supplies vitamins: (A) Yes more than carrots (B). Both B6 and B3 (C) More than oranges (D.) Too many to count
- Moringa tastes like sweet chocolate infused with the essence of mango. True or definitely false.
- Moringa can be started by planting fence posts. true (of course)
- Moringa can help alleviate family malnutrition in a big way: You betcha!