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 tending to plants in Oregon, as well as spending 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, believing that hands on experience with plants is the best teacher.
A few years ago I was doing interview work for a global TV channel, and in 2008 was sent to do an interview with a guy 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, one of the names it is called in the Philippines, where it is highly revered as a food tree. Being that my mother is Filipino, it is no wonder my grandparents had these trees planted and growing in their backyard in Kauai. It was always my favorite vegetable to eat while visiting, which all my relatives knew, so they would make sure they had plenty of drumsticks in their freezer for me to eat if they weren't in season when I visited.
When I did the interview, the interviewee gave me my first seeds which I promplty started growing into plants and seedlings. In the meantime I tried to locate anyone in the Tucson area who knew anything about this tree. The only thing I could find was a mature tree growing downtown at the University of Arizona, which told me that they can grow these plants here. So I began my journey to learn more about moringa, to obtain more seeds and to start growing, observing, and learning about them under all sorts of growing conditions. At the same time I began filling a niche that was growing from others seeking them out after learning of their extraordinary nutritional attributes. It is a great joy for me to have the miracle Moringa tree of life back in my life and to be sharing what I know about it with you.
On this photo the Moringa tree growing on the SE corner of Gila Hall on the University of Arizona campus in downtown Tucson, Arizona. (circa Fall 2010)
13542 W. Sacred Earth Place, Tucson, AZ 85735