My husband and I moved out to our place in the desert in January 2008 along with our many plants. My love for plants has been a lifelong pursuit. As a child, I enjoyed tending to my family’s summer backyard gardens in Oregon. I spent time with my grandparents in Hawaii who were avid gardeners of vegetables, exotic flowers, and Moringa Oleifera trees. I have created gardens in such diverse climates as Oregon, Florida, Colorado, and Arizona and have learned to adapt to growing in each of these environments. I believe that hands on experience with plants is the best teacher.
Years ago, I was doing interview work for a global TV channel. In 2008, I was sent to do an interview with a man who was planting and growing Moringa Oleifera trees to help feed impoverished people. I had never heard the name Moringa and decided I better learn about it so I could prepare some interview questions.
When I started my online research of this amazing plant, I recognized it immediately as what I've always known as Marunguay. Marunguay is one of the names it is called there and it is highly revered as a food tree. My mother is Filipino and it is no wonder my grandparents had planted these trees and were growing them in their backyard in Kauai. It was always my favorite vegetable to eat while visiting them. All my relatives knew this so they would make sure they had plenty of drumsticks in their freezer for me to eat if I visited in the off season.
During the interview, the interviewee gave me my first seeds. Very soon I planted the seeds and started growing plants and, later, seedlings. I was curious about locating anyone in the Tucson area who might know something about this tree. Surprisingly, I found a mature tree growing downtown at the University of Arizona. This indicated to me that Moringa Trees could be grown here.
Thus, I began my journey in learning more about Moringa. I acquired more seeds and began planting, observing, and learning about them under all sorts of growing conditions. At the same time, I began to fill a niche in a market for people who had discovered the extraordinary benefits of Moringa but had no way of getting the plant.
It is a great joy for me to have the miracle Moringa Tree of Life back in my life and share what I know about it with you.
Photo: A Moringa tree growing on the SE corner of Gila Hall on the University of Arizona campus in downtown Tucson, Arizona.
(circa Fall 2010)