Moringa Man came to town, and with him he brought 1,800 moringa tree seeds! It was a great surprise to me because I had missed the meeting when we were notified that he would be coming. He also showed up during the morning ritual of weeding the burma reed – couldn’t get better timing than that!
Turns out, the Moringa Man has a name, Jack, and he works for BioPlanet USA.
BioPlanet USA is a non profit organization that generates reforestation projects of moringa in areas where there has been natural disasters or in areas that are in need. Bioplanet also involves the communities around these sites providing them with employment, nutritional benefits, education and hope. Currently, BioPlanet USA has reforestation projects in Mexico, Haiti, USA, and Honduras.
Community Foodworks and BioPlanet USA have decided to team up in a project geared towards reforestation. BioPlanet USA has donated Community Foodworks 1800 moringa tree seeds which half of them will be planted solely for seed crops to be used in case of another natural disaster like the earthquakes in Haiti. The other 900 seeds will be used for the many uses that I list below:
- Food: The leaves are rich in minerals and protein, and have a nice spicy flavor.
- Water Purification: The seeds can be crushed and inserted into water to remove bacterial contaminants.
- Animal Forage: Cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and rabbits all enjoy the leaves. You can also feed the leaves to carp and other fish.
- Cleaning Agent: Crushed leaves can be used for cleaning cooking utensils or walls.
- Dye: The wood produces a blue dye.
- Alley Cropping: Moringa’s have a long taproot, few lateral roots, grow really fast, produce minimal shade, and have a large production of high-protein biomass, which makes it a perfect candidate for alley cropping.
- Fetilizer: The seed cake can be used as a protein-rich plant fertilizer. You can also extract the juice of moringa leaves and spray that onto plants (resulted in 20%-35% increased crop production).
- Honey Clarifier: Powder seeds clarify honey and sugarcane juice without needing to boil
- Honey: Flowers are a good source of nectar for honey bees.
- Live Fencing: Moringa is perfect to use as a living fence.
- Gum: The gum produced for a cut tree trunk has been used in making medicines and calico printing.
- Ornamental: Plant moringa trees along avenues and gardens for ornamental purposes.
- Pulp: The pulp is suitable for making newsprint and writing paper. However, the wood is soft and spongy which makes it poor for firewood.
- Plant disease prevention: Incorporating moringa leaves into the soil prior to planting can prevent damping off disease (Pythium debaryanum) among seedlings.
- Infant Supplement: The dried leaves are a a high mineral and protein source that can be added to honey and fed to infants
- Rope-making: Beat the bark into a fiber to use as productions for ropes and mats.
A group of apprentices, farmers, directors, and the moringa man sowed the seed crop moringa in a field. The plan was to walk forward and every meter put a seed 1 inch into the soil. It’s a good thing our intentions were to not make straight lines because that would’ve never worked with the way we were walking!
We wanted to start some of the seeds in used pots, but first we had to clean the pots to remove any possible diseases. You can easily sanitize them by filling a tub with water and just enough vinegar so that you can smell it, and then scrubbing the pots. Afterwards, make sure to give them a quick dunk in some water just to rinse off the vinegar wash.
Have fun while working, and make sure to work smarter, not harder. That is exactly what Miles is doing here; it was raining so he found a nice dry place to plant the seeds, put them in a wheel barrow to raise the pots, and sat down on a chair to do the lazy man permaculture approach!
We planted four seeds per each pot that will be transplanted into a living fence, animal fodder, food, and other uses. Our plans are to transplant after a few weeks so the tree’s roots will not become tangled.
If you find yourself living where moringa grows (the tropics and sub-tropics), you should really plant some moringa. As you can see, there are many great uses for this tree which makes it a great choice for the permaculture property.