Meet the Mighty, Mighty Moringa Tree - Modern Farmer

Meet the Mighty, Mighty Moringa Tree

This ancient Indian crop is poised to take the Western world by storm.

moringa tree
Moringa Oleifera seedlings aren't picky about soil, but the trees won't tolerate a hard freeze.
Photography Anna Summa

Farmed in its native India for centuries, M. oleifera is just now catching on in the United States. “It’s easy to grow and loves the heat,” says Fred Dixon of The Orchid, in Goleta, California, one of a handful of American farms cultivating the tree. Dixon started last year with 800 seeds and now has more than a thousand 13-footers. While the leaves can be prepared like spinach, Dixon also dries and crushes them into a powder that’s gaining popularity among smoothie-lovers.

Moringa’s myriad applications go far beyond health shakes, however. Its roots have anti-inflammatory benefits; the seed cake (what’s left after oil extraction) can purify drinking water, fight bacteria, and act as fertilizer. In addition, growing M. oleifera combats erosion. Since 2010, Zambia’s Imagine Rural Development Initiative has used the plant to lift families out of poverty, helping locals start and manage their own moringa plantations. Today, 60 Zambian farmers tend some six million trees, feeding malnourished communities and boosting regional economies. Superfood, indeed.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Notify of
Farm Favorites
Read the latest reviews on our favorite products.
Immigrants Feed America

Immigrants Feed America t-shirts are back – find them at the Modern Farmers Market

Things We Love: AKUA Kelp Jerky

If you told me there was a jerky snack made out of kelp - yes,... (more)

Things We Love: CleverMade Snapbasket Cooler

It can keep up to 50 cans chilled for up to 36 hours and collapses... (more)

Things We Love: Republic of Tea Daily Greens Single Sips

It's like green juice: but way easier.

More shopping