I first heard the word Moringa about two years back whilst volunteering on a farm in Cambodia, the owner there insisted that this was the miracle crop of the future and it seemed my friend was right. Alongside Hemp, Moringa is fast emerging as one of the miracle crops of the new age of agriculture.
Humanity’s population is estimated to reach 10 billion by the year 2050, and, with 1/7th of the world already living in the shadow of hunger, this becomes more frightening than optimistic. We are approaching a food crisis and one that has been noted by the U.N. as directly linked to the proliferation of animal agriculture. We need a hero and the hero must be decidedly plant-based.
Enter Moringa – a distant relative of both Cabbage and Papaya that also goes by the handle of Drumstrick or Horseradish Tree, named for the geometry of its fruit and the flavour of its roots respectively. And the culinary delights of Moringa are only beginning – indeed when writing of this marvellous plant I’m reminded of Willy Wonka’s magical chewing gum, the leaves taste like Spinach and Lettuce, the flowers taste like Mushrooms and the seedpods taste of Asparagus.
And the nutritional value of each of these can scarce be believed, the leaves containing more vitamin A and C, calcium, protein, iron, and potassium then the most popular and recognized of their more orthodox counterparts.
But Moringa won’t stop there, the flowers are highly scented and aid the growth of bee populations, immature seed pods contain all 9 of the necessary amino acids and matured seeds can pressed to harvest oil that can be used in cooking, cosmetics and as a biofuel. The leftover seed powder? A powerful filtration tool whereby sediment clings to the seed matter to the tune of two seeds per filtered litre of water.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Moringa is highly drought and disease resistant, meaning that its propagation is applicable in the most impoverished regions of the world, like central Africa, South East Asia and Central America where huge exportation of domestic crops to the meat and dairy industry have left the local populace unable to sustain themselves.
So, what are we waiting for?