Food pumps.

We have this amazing stuff growing in our yard, moringa. It is an extremely nutritious small tree, high in vitamins, high in protein. We planted it in our yard last year and eat it off and on. The raw leaves have a very unique, strong flavor -- a bit of clover mixed with tabasco. Not entirely unpleasant, but definitely an acquired taste. Or in the words of many, many Honduran friends, "It tastes like a weed." Not an inaccurate appraisal.

In the development world, moringa has been praised for years a vital tool as a nutritional supplement in poor, tropical areas. Originally from Africa, it grows extremely quickly in the correct environment. We planted ours from seed last July. As of January, the tallest was 8' tall. I cut it off at the 6' mark only to turn around and cut off the additional 12' feet of growth over the past 6 months. It doesn't grow like a weed, it spanks weeds in the growth department. Weeds grow like moringa.

Needless to say, these things are magical, natural nutrient pumps. You stick a seed in the ground and it goes to work turning air, water, and dirt into vitamins and protein in the form of green leaves. As mentioned above, it isn't our favorite thing to eat, however, we still mix it into soups, rice dishes, and others as a supplement. Used in this way, moringa has incredible potential to improve the diets here in rural Honduras. However, I have another personally preferred use for it.

As good as moringa is at transforming the elements into a usable form, there is another champion in this area. Our little friend, the humble chicken, is also a magic worker. Chickens are meat wizards. You can throw anything into their pen and they go to work, transforming your waste into delicious, tasty meat. Not only that, the females literally lay meat drops in a box every day. It is a miracle. If you feed your chickens highly nutritious things, they grow even faster and lay even more eggs. Enter moringa.

You see, chickens clearly don't care about flavor. So, they don't care that moringa leaves have a little whang to them. All they care is that there's abundant food. The only thing that I care about is that they love it and it means that we'll be eating more meat as a result. Chickens + Moringa = More food for the gringos.

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