Here's a short compilation of articles about 
Fidel Castro's proposal to cultivate Moringa and 
Mulberry as sources of healthy food and 
employment in Cuba. Quite interesting, although 
for most people in the U.S. I'd question the need 
for so much iron, which may actually feed 
hypothyroid (hashimoto's) and other illnesses. 
But perhaps that's balanced out by other 
nutrients in the the composite plant, I don't 
know (but it's worth checking out).

- Mitchel Cohen

Posted on Sunday June 17, 2012

Google translation, revised.

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro today 
proposed the mass cultivation of "Moringa 
oleifera" and mulberry trees as alternatives for 
healthy food and employment, in another small 
article of his series "Reflections" published today by Cuban newspapers.

"The conditions exist in this country to begin 
mass producing Moringa and Morera, which provide 
more nutrients than meat, eggs and milk, (and) 
Silk fibers spun by hand," Castro wrote in the 
text reported in the official website Cubadebate.

In this new "miniartículo", Fidel Castro adds 
that these plants "are able to provide work in 
the shade that would be well-paid, regardless of age and sex."

The leader of the Cuban revolution, who in August 
will turn 86 years, continues writing his 
"Reflections" in the new format characterized by 
brevity with barely a paragraph of text, disseminated daily on various topics.

Fidel Castro on Saturday published another short 
"Reflection" dedicated to remembering the 
Argentine-Cuban guerrilla Ernesto Che Guevara 
through the verse of Cuba's national poet Nicolas Guillen (1902-1989).

The former president retired from office in 2006, 
when a severe illness forced him to delegate his 
responsibilities to his brother Raul, who 
formally assumed the presidency of Cuba in 2008.

Moringa Leaves Saving Lives in DRC
By Anselme Nkinsi

KINSHASA, Jun 14 2012 (IPS) - Seated under a 
tree, biologist Zozo Bazomba welcomes a steady 
stream of visitors to the Action Nature et 
Médecine centre in Bumbu commune in the DRC. 
Suffering from a range of ailments, they have 
come from across Kinshasa, the capital, in search 
of sachets of powdered moringa leaves.

Action Nature et Médecine (ANAMED) is a 
non-governmental organisation leading an effort 
to promote the health benefits of the leaves and 
seeds of the Moringa olifeira tree in the 
Democratic Republic of Congo. The NGO has a 
ten-hectare plantation of the trees at Mingadi, 
in the western province of Bas-Congo.

Jean-Baulin Mbo, 68, who suffered a stroke, said 
that regular consumption of moringa leaves is 
what is keeping him alive. "I've made a habit of 
eating moringa since I discovered this plant. I 
often have the powder with tea, in porridge, in 
milk or in a soft drink," he told IPS. Others who 
have come looking for moringa are suffering from 
diabetes, high blood pressure or poor nutrition.

Elsewhere in the neighbourhood, at the Libondi 
Health Centre's nutrition unit, Eric Kiambi 
marveled at the results he's seeing using moringa 
with malnourished children. "Before, we struggled 
with having too many children to care for while 
waiting for soy milk from our (donor) partners. 
But now, with moringa, the centre shelters around 
20 malnourished kids," the nutritionist told IPS.

"Moringa's become a staple in a fair number of 
households," said another worker at the centre, 
Vénantie Wabo. "It's an alternative in cases of 
micronutrient deficits. With nothing more than 
powdered moringa, one can quickly restore the 
health of a child suffering from even acute malnutrition."

Anne Biyela brought her eight-year-old grandson Nkanza to the centre for care.

"When we arrived here, my grandson had swollen 
feet (a warning sign of kwashiorkor, a severe 
protein deficiency in children).  Many people 
thought he wouldn't survive a week. But a daily 
helping of porridge with moringa powder has 
really helped him, and now he's doing well," she said.

"The centre encouraged us to use the leaves of 
this plant as a vegetable in all our meals to 
maintain the health of the whole family."

Clotilde Kasowa, a Franciscan missionary who runs 
an orphanage in the Kinshasa commune of Kintambo, 
told IPS that none of the children presently in 
her care suffer from anaemia, thanks to moringa 
supplements. "They get moringa leaves added to 
their pondu (a popular Congolese dish of cassava 
leaves) and the powder in their milk and tea," she said.

"It's much better than soy, and we also sell 
moringa powder. A 75 gramme sachet costs 2,500 
Congolese francs (around 2.5 dollars)."

Huguette Ifoto, the head of the kitchen at the 
orphanage, said they had been caring for nearly 
70 malnourished orphans, but only 27 remained 
after the others got better from eating moringa leaves.

Moringa is also playing a role in protecting the 
health of people living with HIV. Marie Tsimba's 
HIV-positive son was acutely malnourished. "My 
friends advised me to put some moringa in all of 
his meals. And 45 days later the results have 
been excellent, and my son is doing well," she said.

Jean Lukela, coordinator of a national network of 
community organisations and support groups for 
people living with HIV/AIDS, says similar stories 
are common. "Moringa is a good complement for 
anti-retroviral medicine. When these drugs were 
not yet available, we advised people to eat 
moringa seeds to reinforce their immunity," he said.

"In fact, we still tell people living with the virus the same thing."

AFRICA: Miracle Tree is Like a Supermarket
By Kristin Palitza Republish

CAPE TOWN, Jan 25 2012 (IPS) - When a food crisis 
hits the continent, African countries tend to 
look to the international donor community to 
mobilise aid. But a fast-growing, drought- 
resistant tree with extremely nutritious leaves 
could help poor, arid nations to fight food 
insecurity and malnutrition on their own.

A Moringa tree in fruit, near Sprokieswoud in 
Namiba. Moringa leaves are dubbed a "super food". 
Credit: Hans Hillewaert/Wikkicommons

A Moringa tree in fruit, near Sprokieswoud in 
Namiba. Moringa leaves are dubbed a "super food". 
Credit: Hans Hillewaert/Wikkicommons

A 15-hectare plantation of the "miracle tree" 
with the botanical name Moringa oleifera has 
already started to make a positive change in the 
rural village of Tooseng, which is located in one 
of South Africa's poorest provinces, Limpopo.

Moringa leaves are dubbed a "super food" because 
scientists found that they contain the calcium 
equivalent of four glasses of milk, the vitamin C 
content of seven oranges, the potassium of three 
bananas, three times the amount of iron found in 
spinach, four times the amount of vitamin A found 
in a carrot and twice the amount of protein in 
milk. It is like a supermarket on a tree.

Mavis Mathabatha, a former school teacher from 
Tooseng, has been working hard to set up a 
Moringa farm over the past three years that will 
produce enough leaves to make a positive 
difference in her community and further afield. 
"I want to make an impact in my area, province 
and across the country through this project," she explains.

In 2009, she started harvesting, drying und 
grinding Moringa leaves from the first few trees 
she had planted, to sprinkle them on the meals 
provided to about 400 poor children at the local 
Sedikong sa Lerato (meaning "Circle of Love" in Sesotho) drop-in centre.

The centre feeds children from households with a 
combined income of less than 250 dollars a month, 
which includes practically all boys and girls in 
Tooseng, a community suffering from high rates of 
unemployment, poverty, food insecurity and low 
diet-diversity, malnutrition and HIV-infection.

"The results were visible almost immediately. The 
health of the children improved in a short period 
of time," says Elizabeth Serogole, the drop-in 
centre's manager who works closely with 
Mathabatha. She says many children had been 
showing signs of malnutrition, like open sores on 
their skins, which started to heal soon after the 
children regularly ate the leaves.

Supplementing their meals with Moringa also 
notably increased children's ability to ward off 
new illness and infection and boosted their 
mental development, Serogole adds: "Most can now 
better concentrate at school." All it needed was 
one teaspoon of leaf powder a day.

Dr. Samson Tesfay, a postdoctoral scholar at the 
South African University of KwaZulu-Natal's 
Horticultural Science Department, confirms that 
Moringa is truly a multi-purpose wonder.

"The Moringa plant is unique in that every part 
can be utilised for beneficial purposes. It has 
medicinal, therapeutic, nutritive and practical 
uses. It is extremely effective in combating 
malnutrition," says Tesfay. In addition, 
Moringa's immature pods were full of essential amino acids.

Moringa leaves can also be used for medicinal 
purposes, to treat skin infections, lower blood 
pressure and blood sugar, reduce swelling, heal 
gastric ulcers and to calm the nervous system, 
Tesfay further explains. The plant, which is 
native to northern India, has been used in 
Ayurveda medicine for centuries and is said to prevent 300 diseases.

Moreover, the seeds of the tree can be used to 
purify water in rural areas where access to clean 
drinking water is difficult and often a cause for 
disease. "The seeds are effective in removing 
about 98 percent of impurities and microbes from 
contaminated water," says Tesfay.

The slender tree with drooping branches is 
non-invasive, needs little water and grows fast, 
reaching a height of three metres within a year. 
It even grows steadily in Tooseng, in South 
Africa's northeast, an arid region that has been 
suffering from repeated lack of rainfall in recent years.

"The tree can survive in relatively unfavourable 
conditions and does not require sophisticated and 
expensive farming methods or inputs," explains Tesfay.

Moringa could thus indeed become a widely used 
hunger prevention method, food experts say, as it 
can grow in all of the world's subtropical areas, 
where droughts and malnutrition are prevalent ­ 
in most parts of Africa, Central and South 
America, the Middle East and South-East Asia.

Since 2009, Mathabatha has built up her Moringa 
plantation little by little. After she heard 
about the multiple benefits of the tree, she 
applied for a grant from regional funding agency 
Southern Africa Trust, which help her to set up 
her own plantation. Today, she is the proud owner of 13,000 Moringa trees.

But Mathabatha did not stop here. She wanted to 
share her discovery of Moringa's nutritious 
benefits with others and has therefore 
distributed more than 6,000 Moringa seedlings to 
poor families in various communities around 
Tooseng, together with a nutrition education campaign.

"Planting and distributing Moringa is a holistic 
approach to deal with the problem of food 
insecurity," Ashley Green-Thompson, who managed 
the project grant, explains why the SAT decided 
to finance the project. "The level of household 
food insecurity is one of the key indicators of 
poverty, and it's very high in this region."

Today, Mathabatha's farm produces and packages up 
to 10,000 tonnes a year of Moringa leaf powder, 
which is distributed not only within South 
Africa, but also exported to Botswana, Swaziland 
and Lesotho. "I am hoping to further extend my 
market in the next few years. There is a lot of 
interest in my product," Mathabatha says.

But it is the urge to help much more than the 
desire to make money that motivates Mathabatha to 
expand her business. At the cost 60 cents per 40 
grams of leaf powder ­ which lasts one person for 
about a month ­ the 52-year-old business woman 
puts affordability clearly before profits.

("The Engineer also experiments with vegetables, fruits and grains. He
recently started growing Caribbean melon, Honduran guava and he has
already 1,000 seedlings from a bush called Moringa, known for its
nutritional properties.")

Farm in Ciego de Avila Certified as Area for National Research
Radio Rebelde - Aug. 3, 2011


HAVANA, Cuba.- The National Group for Urban and Suburban Agriculture
recognized a farm in the central province of Ciego de Avila as the
first Cuban research farm.

The farm, named La Provechosa, is owned by Agricultural Engineer
Ariel Gonzalez Molerio, who is a member of the Jose Marti Credit and
Services Cooperative.

"The certificate is an acknowledgement and at the same time means a
commitment to continue working to achieve high yields and prevent
plagues from invading the crops," Gonzalez Molerio said.

Agricultural specialist Sonia Sanchez Carvajal said Gonzalez Molerio
planted this year a record of 79 varieties of beans to check which of
them were more productive and more resistant to plagues.

As a result of his study, the Engineer turned in 50 tons of pure
seeds of various types of beans including peas, kidney (red and
white), red and pinto beans so that other agricultural workers could
expand his experience in growing the crop, which is one of the most
expensive foodstuffs in the international market.

With the support of the National Group for Urban and Suburban
Agriculture,and of the University of Ciego de Avila, Gonzalez Molerio
became the first agricultural worker to produce cabbage seeds.

"He also holds the national record of producing 203 tons of papaya
and a yield of 3.15 tons of beans per hectare," said Cooperative's
president Hiran Aliste.

Gonzalez Molerio's farm is a provincial agricultural area of 10.80
hectares used for the improvement and preservation of soils. This
year, 55 tons of compost (a mixture of decayed plant matter and
manure) and 11 tons of worm humus were spread on the land as

The Engineer also experiments with vegetables, fruits and grains. He
recently started growing Caribbean melon, Honduran guava and he has
already 1,000 seedlings from a bush called Moringa, known for its
nutritional properties.


(New Yorkers were thrilled by the organic farms 
scattered around the capital. On a trip to buy 
supplies on Monday, Marco Canora, owner of the 
East Village restaurant Hearth, and Mr. Valle 
chewed on moringa leaves at an organic farm in 
Alamar, on the outskirts of Havana, and admired a 
trough seething with Californian red worms, which are used to produce compost.)

May 17, 2012
A Bridge-Building, Cross-Cultural Art Project That's Also Delicious

HAVANA — It was at some point between the guava 
maki and the grilled sailfish with yuzu that 
Robert T. Coffland, an American art dealer who is 
normally reserved by nature, stood up and took off his shirt.

Mr. Coffland had complimented his fellow diner, 
Renny Arozarena, on his floral-print top. Without 
hesitation, Mr. Arozarena, a Cuban actor, 
unbuttoned it and handed it to Mr. Coffland. The quiet American reciprocated.

"It was a magical moment of letting go," said Mr. 
Coffland, who has a gallery that deals in 
traditional textiles in Santa Fe, N.M. "I hadn't even had that much to drink."

Such bursts of camaraderie were what Craig 
Shillitto, an architect and a restaurant 
designer, had in mind when he devised Project 
Paladar, a 10-day collaboration that pairs 10 
chefs, most based in New York, with 10 Cuban 
chefs in a restaurant built for the event from shipping containers.

Each night, one pair cooks for a mixed group of 
Cubans and foreigners, mostly American, who sit 
at long, rough wooden tables. The event, which 
ends on Sunday, forms part of the 11th Havana 
Biennial, which began last Friday and runs for a month.

"We wanted people to be able to meet Cubans and 
eat with them, rather than just see them on the 
other side of a service counter," Mr. Shillitto 
said. "I think some of the relationships that 
have been created here are going to endure for a long time."

The project is named for the small, privately 
owned restaurants, called paladars, that have 
sprouted up around the country, especially since 
the government opened more space for private 
enterprise 18 months ago. Financing and supplies 
for the event came from private donors, Mr. 
Shillitto said; the organizers charged some of 
the foreign guests $250 each to help cover 
expenses, like the chefs' travel costs.

The organizers made a point of seating Cubans, 
who could eat free, alongside visiting diners and 
said they had invited Cubans of all stripes, from 
museum curators to the welders who helped build the restaurant.

In a country where many rely on food rations to 
help get them through the month and the diet 
produced by state-run farms is a monotony of 
tubers and beans, the Cuban diners were 
impressed, puzzled and delighted by turns.

"This is exquisite," said José Pablo Carrasco, a 
guitar player who was tucking into the sailfish 
cooked by Anita Lo, owner of Annisa in New York. 
"We are not used to eating like this here."

"I liked that round thing, too," he added.

The sushi? "The Chinese thing."

Japanese. "Whatever," he said. "It was delicious."

The buzz about the gastronomic encounter 
apparently was not lost on the political elite. 
On Wednesday, Ricardo Alarcón, president of the 
National Assembly, and Nilsa Castro Espín, one of 
President Raúl Castro's daughters, turned up for 
a dinner of braised rabbit with white wine and 
rosemary and Nesquik panna cotta with cardamom, 
cinnamon, vanilla and pine nuts.

While forging bonds between diners might have 
been easy, producing world-class food in Havana 
was not. Chefs brought their own spices, oils, 
cheeses and knives from America, but some were 
stunned to discover how hard it is in Cuba to get 
ingredients and kitchen supplies they consider basic.

"It's impossible," declared Eduardo Valle, 
sous-chef at Del Posto in New York, who deemed 
the pork in the markets so unpleasant he steered other chefs away from it.

Early in his stay, he went on a mission to 
procure fresh fish, a surprisingly rare luxury 
here. He was driven to a house somewhere in 
Havana — no idea where, he said — and was told to 
wait in the car. "It was like we were buying 
weapons," Mr. Valle said. "Unbelievable."

On the other hand, the New Yorkers were thrilled 
by the organic farms scattered around the 
capital. On a trip to buy supplies on Monday, 
Marco Canora, owner of the East Village 
restaurant Hearth, and Mr. Valle chewed on 
moringa leaves at an organic farm in Alamar, on 
the outskirts of Havana, and admired a trough 
seething with Californian red worms, which are 
used to produce compost. Ms. Lo said it was a 
question of adapting to what was available.

"People in New York are used to all their 
tomatoes being the same size with little stickers 
on them," Ms. Lo said. "There's totally food 
here. There's just a little more dirt on the roots."

As the week wore on, the talk turned to future 
collaboration. Elizabeth Grady, who curated the 
installation, plans to compile a bilingual book 
with a recipe from each chef involved.

Enrique Núñez, owner of La Guarida, who spent 
much of the week buying produce and planning 
menus with Doug Rodríguez, an American chef of 
Cuban descent, said the two had planned for Mr. 
Núñez to go to Mr. Rodríguez's restaurant Alma de 
Cuba, in Philadelphia, for a similar exchange.

"This has been one of the most incredible 
experiences I have ever had with a chef," Mr. 
Núñez said of Mr. Rodríguez. "It's like we've known each other for years."

As for Mr. Coffland, he came away not only with a 
nice shirt but also with some optimism that the 
exchange would help bring Cubans and Americans closer.

"It's the small actions that sometimes have a 
huge impact," he said. "That's what builds ties between countries."

Moringa Plant Catches on in Cuba
Janis Hernandez

Posted By Circles Robinson On December 19, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

HAVANA TIMES, Dec 19 — Since childhood I've been 
at the mercy of concoctions prepared from medicinal plants.

My grandmother and her remedies cured almost any 
malaise that afflicted me ­ whether using the 
herb vicaria for outbreaks of conjunctivitis 
(though this was eventually censured by doctors) 
or drinking anamu infusions for intestinal 
parasites, or soaking in llanten to heal cuts.

The use of so-called "green medicine" has always 
been important to my family, therefore every new 
property or application that was discovered and 
announced — either by the official media or word 
on the street — was immediately felt at home.

Some scientific studies found that there were 
significant amounts of antioxidants in Mango 
bark. There then came to light vimang, the 
medicine that was then in fashion, at least until 
the Noni fruit took center stage when it was 
claimed that it had 101 curative properties.

These days a new plant is in vogue: Moringa, the miracle of the moment.

What these three plants have in common is that 
they have been taken by the people as 
all-powerful drugs capable of countering 
everything from baldness to malignant tumors. In 
fact, despite those other attributes, their 
greatest values are as nutritional supplements.

The Moringa Oleifera, one of the most widespread 
plant species in Cuba, now has everybody going 
crazy. According to articles published on the 
internet, a Moringa leaf is more than 25 percent 
protein, which is as much as in eggs and twice the amount of milk.

It has four times the amount of vitamin A of 
carrots, four times the amount of calcium in 
milk, seven times the vitamin C of oranges, three 
times more potassium than bananas, and 
significant amounts of iron, phosphorus and other minerals.

At the same time as being used as animal feed, 
Moringa is used in many parts of the world to 
prevent malnutrition and to combat several 
diseases, such as childhood blindness associated 
with vitamin deficiencies and other essential dietary insufficiencies.

Additional benefits include its ornamental 
character, its high rate of growth, its easy 
cultivation, and the ability to withstand severe pruning.

Originally from northern India, it has been used 
in the Ayurvedic or the Hindu system of medicine 
for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians, 
Greeks and Romans especially appreciated the 
healthy and cosmetic qualities of the oil that 
could be easily squeezed from its seeds.

During the past two decades it has been 
"discovered" in the Western world, and numerous 
studies have been conducted that are increasingly 
confirming the properties traditionally ascribed to the plant.

Miraculously, it's said to have a pleasant taste 
and thus can be eaten fresh or prepared in 
different ways; plus, its green fruit, seeds and roots are also edible.

Since it was introduced into the national diet, 
it has begun to proliferate in recipes such as 
Moringa tea, Moringa corn stew, yellow rice with 
Moringa, scrambled Moringa; sautéed onion, pepper 
and buttered Moringa; and Moringa salad.

As people have started growing this tree in 
several provinces, it won't be surprising if it 
appears in agro-markets in the future at high 
prices or if it takes the place of soy in our 
shopping carts ­ either as an oil, ground up or as yogurt.

Moringa, called the miracle tree, introduced in Cuba

August 5, 2011

Google translation. Revised by Walter Lippmann.

Pinar River, Aug. 5. - The moringa plant species 
that is known for its qualities in the world as 
the miracle tree, was introduced in Pinar del 
Rio, and grows in different municipalities.

Directors of Integral Forestal (EFI) La Palma 
said to AIN that planting was rushed members of 
the National Association of Small Farmers, in 
order to obtain the seed for other sites of Pinar 
del Rio and the rest of the country.

Toledo William Cross, director of the company, 
said that the nurseries were the 30 000 positions 
provided for in this first stage, while some 
trees planted there and reach almost a meter high.

He highlighted the immense potential of the plant 
for food and feed, in addition to its medicinal 
properties and the advantage of withstanding prolonged periods of drought.

In-crop areas, said moringa can be used as live 
fence or windbreak, and grows very fast, as in 
just one year may reach four meters in height, and bear fruit.

Its seeds ripened pods, contain all the B 
vitamins in large quantities, and are composed of 
35 to 40 percent of fresh edible oil, very 
similar to olive maintain specialized digital publications.

A native of India, the nutritional value of shrub 
is four times higher in vitamin A as carrots well 
above the vitamin C of oranges, milk calcium, 
potassium of bananas, while having a 25 per more percent of the egg protein.

The own sources add that has all eight essential 
amino acids for humans and significant amounts of 
iron, magnesium and other nutrients, while parts 
such as seeds, roots or leaves are used to joint 
pain, inflammation and digestive problems. (AIN)

Ring the bells that still can ring,  Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in.
~ Leonard Cohen