While most of our network members are familiar with “moringa,” the moringa family (Moringaceae) actually contains many species. We have promoted the ever-popular M. oleifera, conducting our own taste-test trials to offer our network a more favorably tasting tree; we also work with the more drought-tolerant M. stenopetala.
Tim Motis and Christopher D’Aiuto
Through funding from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, ECHO has completed an initial year of research in South Africa (Limpopo Province). Our goal is to conduct research applicable to farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Part of our research has been to study a moringa/legume intercropping system, in which edible, green manure cover crops are grown between rows of moringa trees. What we have found so far may be of interest to those working in higher altitude tropics, or in any area where moringa grows well during the rainy season but must endure short periods of freezing temperatures during the dry, winter months.
Katie Johnson & Dawn Berkelaar
In the United States, as in many other countries, schoolyard and community gardens are gaining popularity. Such gardens have potential for much more than just contributing to food security. Participants learn about nutrition and growing food, and they connect in a deeper way with where food comes from. Schoolyard gardens can provide practical connections between classroom lessons and life applications. Materials are available to help teachers incorporate aspects of the garden into subjects such as writing, biology, nutrition, personal finance and history. Those who work in schoolyard and community gardens learn to cooperate and work in community, as they learn practical skills together.
The challenges are real. Establishing a garden at a school or within a community requires coordination. Sometimes negative attitudes must be addressed. Often the technical know-how is not there. Significant cost can be involved. Challenges often lead to discouragement, but failures and set-backs can also be a point from which to move forward towards a stronger project in the future. Success will be greater if project leaders become aware of common challenges that others have faced, and plan accordingly. The resources and examples in this article can help in planning a group garden.