Haiti Agricultural Program

Wow, two weeks have flashed by and the agricultural (ag) program at Mission Lifeline in Arachaie, Haiti has begun.

Adam and Jordani are the two capable Haitian men who will care for the gardens – both natural men of the soil who love plants and feel responsible for the project and its outcome.

The clearing of the land, rounding up the stones, subduing those small cactus plants with the barbed thorns, cutting back the euphorbia curalis trees which we named burning milk trees because the copious quantity of milky sap they ooze when cut or bent burns ones skin, and the sweating by the bucketful, were all part of the experience. The result was about half an acre of fertile land that will yield well with the addition of a little seed, water, mulch and local fertilizer ie well rotted manure. With temperatures in the mid thirties, the photo below shows the dramatic results of moringa seedlings started at the garden. Moringa is the second fastest growing tree in the world and provides a complete compliment of amino acids and vitamin C – a complete diet in one simple package!!

Mission Lifeline has done a tremendous job of developing personnel who are on time at the airport, understand our needs as guests, cook the most amazing food and kept our accommodation clean and tidy. The facilities were second to none, with beautiful tiled rooms and showers, ensuite kitchenette, screened windows for insect control and full laundry services.

The cultural angle included roosters crowing and dogs barking in the wee hours and the ladies from the kitchen who gather for prayer and worship at 4.30am prior to starting work at 5, Monday through Friday. Early to bed, greeting the sunrise and taking a siesta seemed to work well.

At our closing meeting, we determined that the risk factor to the garden was the persistent goats. Grazing animals represent a considerable deterant to agricultural development in many countries. Let’s hope the thorny fences hold up well.!

Off to Haiti!!

The time has come to put to practice the hard won knowledge of moringa and other tropical agricultural interventions.

On January 28, my friend Chester Venhuisen and I will depart Pearson airport for Haiti, where we will work with Children’s Lifeline in Arcahaie (about 1 hours drive north of Porte au Prince). The mission has one couple from the USA on site, employs over 150 people from the surrounding area and feeds 3,000 children per day. Our mission, should we choose to accept it (which we have!!), is to create an agricultural program. This program will produce food for the mission as well as teach the local people how to use moringa and a variety of other crops to improve their own health outcomes. Very exciting for people like myself with a green thumb and passion for improving people lives. We will be introducing the concept of tree based agriculture as a component in food security. Trees can be used to create micro climates where more tender vegetable crops can thrive.

I was reading some technical notes about moringa today which say that under intense culture, moringa can produce 650 tons of vegetables per hectare. Is global hunger really necessary? Considering that people can and like to use this this veggie as a dried additive to soups and stews. I would say there a lot of moringa powder benefits , which is why I own moringapowderbenefits.ca.

We will also be promoting the use of vetiver grass for erosion control, contouring hillsides, mulching and soil reclamation. There are great youtube videos on this subject.

There is also a construction education component in which we will be teaching the building trades. Such as carpentry, masonry, concrete work and other construction techniques.

Keep an eye open for my online sales of moringa powder, a product of Haiti. This will be a product which gives twice – benefits your health and the Haitian economy. Is this the new model for global development?

Thanks for your support of this venture. Keep an eye on my blogs!! Which will be available, technology permitting!!

Moringa and B.A.M.

global hunger can be solved with the right approachI had a very exciting conversation yesterday with the financial guy from a large NGO. We were discussing the recent interest in BAM – business and missions.

One in seven people go to bed hungry, 1.8 million people die from bad water in developing countries and developed countries are looking for medical interventions with our aging populations. Is there an opportunity here?

I believe there is. The evidence of the benefits of moringa is overwhelming. Anyone with internet access can search for moringapowderbenefits and get a plethora of results. Dr Marcu, PhD, wrote a great booklet about the medical research that highlights the technical data supporting the awesome health benefits.

Moringa trees grow only in climates with no frost, so our neighbors in developing countries have an excellent opportunity.

All we need to do is rev up our blenders every morning, add a little fruit, moringa powder, maybe milk or yogurt and we are on the road to a healthier life!!

Hope you enjoy the benefits as I do.

Kind Regards, Tim

Top 10 reasons to embrace Moringa

Top 10 reasons to embrace Moringa

1. Food – moringa contains all 9 essential amino acids plus vitamin C making it a complete food. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals. The flowers, pods, leaves and roots are edible. Harvesting can begin 4 months after planting. One in seven people go to bed hungry in our world today. I am 5 feet 10 inches and 150 pounds (slight build) and getting hungry is difficult for me.
2. Medicine – moringa treats over 300 diseases. It boosts the immune system. The root is an excellent anti-inflammatory. Great for aching baby boomers.
3. Developing country medical needs – over 30 million people living with HIV/AIDS have no access to free medications. Moringa and artemisia annua can treat these people for pennies per day – not $1-6 for conventional treatment options. Plants have no resistance or rising cost issues! Agricultural societies are given self determination.
4. Water – 1.8 million people die annually from “bad” water. Moringa acts as a floculant and water purifier. Flocullants coagulate the water borne particles, causing bacteria laced dirt to settle out. The resulting “sludge” is an environmentally friendly compost, unlike aluminum sulphate laced sludge. Moringa contains a protein which kills harmful viruses and bacteria.
5. Carbon capture – moringa is the second fastest growing plant on the planet after bamboo. It can grow up to 4 meters per year. In Hawaii, people are harvesting 280,000 pounds of leaves per acre per year!!
6. Drought resistance – moringa thrives in hot climates. It will not tolerate freezing. It will start to grow at the end of the dry season, before the rains start. This is the hungry season in countries with this seasonal weather pattern. It even grows in sand.
7. Environment – the biggest agricultural issue on the planet is erosion. Trees help with this by stabilizing the soil with their roots. Leaves break the energy of rain drops as they plummet to earth. (Many grasses, including vetiver, have a big role to play here).
8. Food security – planting annual crops such as corn, beans, wheat, barley, oats and peas carries the risk of crop failure from adverse weather patterns at critical times in the cropping cycle. Trees are much less susceptible to such issues. Many trees are destroyed in cyclones and heavy weather conditions. If you cut off a moringa tree at ground level, or freeze the above ground portion, it readily regrows from the stump or roots. Energy balance in agriculture – the law of diminishing returns states there is a point at which inputs are not returned by increased output. Trees require minimal input as they do not require the same levels of soil tillage. Their deep rooted nature means they require less water.
9. Business opportunity – dried moringa leaves store very well are a wonderful source of concentrated nutrients. A few grams of leaves contains enough vitamin A to prevent blindness. Over 500,000 people annually go blind from lack of vitamin A.
10. Enjoyment – people are stressed from over work. Moringa’s vitamin B complex helps tremendously with this. Need a low calorie quick meal? Moringa drink is great!! Hospitals which had patients looking at the color green had improved healing rates. Let’s turn our world green and reap the benefits. Believe it or not, people in hot climates tell me they would rather go hungry than pick the leaves off their trees. I think they can have both.

What do you think about this tree and it’s benefits? Loads of great resources/youtube videos exist.

Awesome moringa video

Check out this video if you are interested in the possibility of moringa, particularly in developing countries.

Big Picture Thought

In the business of development, we may think about solutions that are tied to market systems – drugs to treat disease, fertilizer to help crops or insecticides to control pests.

These systems have provided excellent results in some countries. However, there are places where corruption disrupts the production and distribution of  quality products. Fakes, sugar pills, lime based fertilizers and poison pills may be in your cornerstore in some locales.

What to do about this?

Look to natural solutions. Plant based fertilizers like nitrogen fixing trees and plants, these also act as mulch; medicine from plants like neem , moringa, artemisia annua and papaya to name a few; neem to treat pests; neem branches for toothbrushes give both physical and chemical cleaning.

Check out this video of Cornell University students in India:

Brushing with Neem in India

Nature is there to provide – can we see it?

What is Moringa? Great Question!

What is Moringa? Great Question!!

The moringa tree is a drought resistant plant which grows very rapidly, provides superior protein in the leaves and other plant parts, and grows in warm climates only. It contains all the amino acids plus vitamin C, making it one of the few plants providing a complete food. It is my favorite single source solution to global hunger, to make no mention of its medicinal properties.

Following is an excerpt from wikipedia on complete protein sources for vegetarians –  Other foods, such as amaranth, buckwheat,hempseed, meat, poultry, Salvia hispanica, soybeans, quinoa, seafood, and spirulina also are complete protein foods, but may not obtain a PDCAAS score of 1.0.[1][12] However, most unrefined plant foods (excepting fruits) provide more than enough of all essential amino acids even after you account for any differences in digestion or protein quality.[13]

There are many excellent videos extolling the virtues of moringa, here is a selection for your viewing pleasure:

Enjoy and be informed!!

An HIV Questionnaire

Hope out of despair – An AIDS Questionnaire

  1. Inside the body, HIV attacks: a) red blood cells b) lymphocytes – a particular type of white blood cell c) bone marrow d) foreign bacteria
  2. Cells with CD4 receptors are called CD4+ cells or helper T lymphocytes. T lymphocytes a) maintain the health of the lymphatic system b) work to maintain good sight c) help protect the body against viral infections and detect and destroy some cancer cells d) aid in the reproduction of viral DNA
  3. The CD4+ T-cell count should be 800 – 1,300 per microliter of blood. The criteria for an AIDS diagnosis in adults and adolescents is a level below: a) 200 b) 250 c) 300 d) 350
  4. HIV reproduces by entering the T lymphocytes, the genetic material of the virus joins with that of the lymphocyte, the virus reproduces itself within, destroys the cell and releases new viruses which attack other lymphocytes True or False
  5. HIV is a retrovirus True or False
  6. Conventional medical treatment is drugs called ARV’s – anti-retroviral drugs. Their purpose is to a) deactivate the HIV, prevent them from reproducing and slow down the progress of the disease b) speed up replication of HIV with the aim of “burn out”, c) act like reverse antifreeze in the blood to keep it from clotting in the hot weather
  7. Because HIV tends to develop resistance when a single ARV is used, they are often used in combination True or False
  8. Side effects of ARV’s can include a) nausea b) vomiting c) diarrhoea d) headaches e) all the above
  9. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that a) 25% b)45% c) 80% d) 95% of people in the South still use traditional medicine first.
  10. The WHO estimates that a) 10% b) 25% c) 40% d) 55% of our commercially available medicines are descended from plants first used traditionally. B (taken from WHO factsheet #271)
  11. People have begun to see the modern health system as more responsible for their health than they are themselves. True or False
  12. Taking more responsibility for our health involves paying attention to a) what one eats and drinks b) our whole lifestyle – exercise, hand washing, not smoking, clean toilet facilities etc c) seeking the best treatment when we become ill d) working together as a community e) all of the above
  13. Because of our reliance on manufactured drugs, many people have lost the knowledge of how to use resources provided by nature to treat illnesses. Natural Medicine offers new ideas and scientifically proven methods of using locally available plants, providing fresh hope. True or False
  14. Anamed is the acronym for Action for Natural Medicine, which has groups meeting in 13 countries, mainly in Africa True or False
  15. HIV can be contracted by insect bites, hand shaking, hugging and breathing infected air True or False
  16. If a person is infected with HIV, they can minimize AIDS related infections by a) eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, garlic and certain herbal teas b) avoid smoking and alcohol c) avoid crowds where people may have infections and treating infections quickly d) get plenty of rest, including sitting in the sun 30 – 60 minutes daily e) never having sexual intercourse without a condom in order to not re-infect yourself or your partner f) all of the above
  17. Foods which stimulate the immune system include garlic, artemisia annua tea, neem (azadirachta indica), lemon grass, mango and some aloe plants. True or False
  18. Artemisia annua contains artemisinin. In AIDS patients it balances cellular (which is low T-helper cell count) and humoral immunity (which is high levels of soluble antibodies). True or False
  19. Anamed’s proposal for comprehensive AIDS treatment recommends 3 of the following a) garlic, Allium sativum, eat at least 3 cloves aech day of raw garlic b) Artemisia annua. For the first month, drink 1 liter of tea using 5 grams of dried leaves each day. Thereafter, for one week in every month, drink this amount of tea. c) Neem, Azadirachta indica. Take one to two heaped teaspoons of dried neem leaf powder each week. d) Lemon grass, Cymbopogon citratus. Drink two liters of tea, using one handful of fresh leaves for each liter, each day. e) Aloe vera. Drink one to teo tablespoons of gel each day. This gel may be mixed with an equal amount of honey. f) Lemon Citrus limon. Drink the juice of one lemon each day. g) Moringa oleifera. Make moringa leaf powder, and add one heaped teaspoon to the food three times a day, every day of your life.
  20. Artemisia annua produces 400,000 to 800,000 daily doses of treatment per hectare in reasonable growing conditions. True or False
  21. Moringa oleifera produces over 2 million daily doses per acre. True or False T
  22. With the numbers in question 20 and 21 in mind, does the HIV pandemic look treatable to you? Yes or No

Answers 1 – b; 2 – c; 3 – a; 4 – T; 5 – T; 6 – a; 7 – T; 8 – e; 9 – c; 10- b, 11 – T; 12 – e; 13 – T; 14 – T; 15 – F; 16 – f; 17 – T; 18 – T; 19 – N/A; 20 – T; 21 – T; 22 – that depends on you!!

Cultural Perspective on Plant Based Medicine

Picture yourself early afternoon on a lush green slope, looking out over a broad valley in southwestern Uganda. All the preparation has been done. The beans are cooking, the matooke has been peeled and is being steamed, the rice and vegetables are prepared and you have the big bags of bright red plastic cups and plates for your guests. The cow was butchered early that morning, and now there are several huge cauldrons boiling. One with the meat and one with the entrails. The mere smell from the latter turns your stomach and you look away as a child fishes a chunk of braided intestine from the brew and happily chews away at it. Gross, you think to yourself, as you ponder the protein needs of the people.

Slowly, your guests begin to arrive. Many helping one another, they weakly make their way to the party. There is a one room clinic at your camp located on this hillside, and people line up, looking for relief from the aches and pains that long hours of digging, poor nutrition and poor health have provided. Eventually its time for the party to start. Several hundred people, mainly women and children, gather around as the lead Ugandan prays in Runyankole rukiga, then explains the procedure for getting food.

You look on contentedly as each guest is politely served by the crew who works with your organization, some being big guys who are accustomed to heavy work now kindly and gently serving these community members. After the food is eaten, there is a free-for-all clothing distribution of about 500 pounds of items which you have purchased from merchants in the large town where you do your shopping. Then huge piles of notes books, pens, pencils, lead and coloured are distributed to your friends. During the whole party, people have been approaching you and, looking into your eyes, shaking your hand and giving words of thanks. You understand a few words but most escape your limited understanding. The message is clear. Your connection to these several hundred people living with HIV is solidified, part of your heart will never, ever forget this day, nor the eyes of those with whom you have conversed. 22 million people in sub Saharan Africa with HIV is no longer a statistic but real people, with real lives, real families, real dreams, real hopes and fears. No longer can you relax when talk of shortages of antiretrovirals or other medicine are communicated.

Your mind goes back to the day you drank tea with the parents of Newton and Juliette. These aging folks have never been to town. You asked Newton what they do when they get sick. He says they know what plants to use. You remember the visit to the pineapple growing village with a friend. You made your way there on the back of a boda boda, a 50 cc motorcycle, kind of a souped up weedeater with wheels. There you met a family who are suffering malaria to whom you give a bag of artemisia leaves and explain how to use it. Several weeks later you get great news that they are all fine. And you scatch your head as the medicine was enough for 2 people and there were 6. You remember an arduous climb to look at a water source for a potential water project. As you switch back and forth on this steep slope, trudging through banana plantations and wooded areas, you see your associate hacking away at a tree root with his machete. You ask what he is doing. He explains it is for medicine. The men with whom you work are the best from their communities and knowledgeable in village life. You think of all the people who bought a dose of artemisia annua leaves from you and happily reported being cured of malaria. You have heard of the work of anamed in Tanzania where 100 HIV positive people were on a regime of artemisia annua tea and moringa leaf powder. They chose to try this approach due to bad reactions to the pills or having no other treatment options. You have read how they were much better after only two weeks of this, how 5 of these people had their HIV status reversed and how many were able to return to their families and be productive members of their community. Your mind is now jubilant with the possibility as these experiences coalesce into a vision for PLWHA. No longer need there be a shortage of treatment, now there is enough. As a Christian, you see Jehovah Jireh, God the Provider in the whole tapestry of experiences.

Let me address some issues/questions people have.

  1. Is it safe? There are 3 levels at which drug effect/effectiveness can be measured. Dosage for clinical effect is the amount required to defeat the disease. Side effect dosage is the amount required to get a negative physical response. LD50 dosage is the amount which kills 50% of the (usually) rodents used in the study. With the plant based medicine that I am recommending, the dosage difference between theses 3 markers is multiples of 10. Suffice to say the chance for negative effects is very low, even when, not if, the patient thinks that if they are to take x dosage for 3 days they could get better in 1 day by taking xtimes3 in a single day.
  2. How do patients get the right dosage when you can’t measure what is in the plant? Getting the correct dosage is a struggle for medical personnel the world over, even in our measurement/prescription model. In the plant based model the patient is taking responsibility for this, bearing in mind that the chances of overdosing are very slight. Due to the complex interaction between the chemicals found in plants, resistance is not an issue. The Chinese have used plant based artemisinin for over 2,000 years and never reported a case of resistance.
  3. Won’t the medical establishment in these countries try to stop you? Yes they will. There needs to be some education on building wealth. Sick people do not work and do not produce income, so there are no winners. When public health is improved, people will buy many products with their new found wealth so people who are making their money now through the sale of pills, can own other types of businesses and make money. Eventually they can even make money sucking unwanted fat from peoples bodies!!, rather then trying to get money from people as they face death or extreme discomfort from malaria, HIV or dysentery. Even the relatives of high officials in these countries get sick and can benefit from plant based medicine. So these people can become advocates. There is no need to have a scarcity mentality.
  4. Plants have a single drug and the recommendation now is to use combination therapy. Plants have many chemicals we know about and some we may not know. We do not understand all the interactions between those chemicals, suffice to say they do exist. It is a fact that one can treat malaria with the plant material which is left after the extraction of artemisinin (the main line drug used to treat malaria).
  5. Is it snake oil? No. There are 4 main plants used, including artemisia annua, moringa, neem and papaya. Artemisia annua is the source of the worlds artemisinin – the mainline drug used to treat malaria. Millions of people take billions of doses of this chemical annually. Moringa is a globally loved food source. There are too many videos and books to count which praise its benefits. Neem has been part of ayurvedic medicine (from India) for over 4,000 years. Would a culture keep a poor product for that long? Neem is not suitable for couples wishing to have a child.. Again, too much research exists to begin siting studies. Papaya is very effective and perhaps the least studied of these plants. I had an LD50 done at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda which indicated that you need to consume tea from 7-8 leaves to get a minor side effect while a piece the size of your palm will treat malaria.
  6. Where is the research? If you have internet access you have access to the results of numerous studies. My heart has been broken too many times by what I have seen for me to not take the hours it takes to satisfy myself that this approach is legitimate. There are over 22 million people in sub Saharan Africa with HIV and over 30 million world wide who could benefit. Do you have the time for them – most of whom have no internet or computer access? These 4 plants can be used to effectively treat the 4 big killers – malaria, HIV, dysentery and TB.
  7. Can you make any money from this? Artmesia annua gives 400,000 to 800,000 daily doses per hectare and moringa over 2 million. At a very affordable rate to the clients, the health of whole populations can be changed.

Check out this link: http://www.anamed.net/AIDS_Ribbon.pdf

You can join this initiative in health care by contacting me, or emailing me at timwisetimothy@yahoo.ca. Action for Natural Medicine has a website at www.anamed.net .

Let’s form a team, because Together Each Achieves More!!

Sustainable Agriculture with Moringa Trees

Tree based Agriculture Moringa Oleifera Tree

Our initial reaction to the word agriculture is the production of food. What we will discover is that how we do agriculture has many other repercussions.

What is the number one agricultural issue on a global basis? Erosion – the loss of valuable top soil, a thin layer which provides the medium for the production of our food and so many raw materials that make our lives enjoyable. What is the answer to the preservation and building up of this resource? Trees, specifically the moringa tree. Tree leaves break the eroding power of falling raindrops, while the roots stabilize the soil.

One in seven people in the world go to bed hungry – every night. How do we effectively capture the power of nature to reverse or at least reduce this sad reality?

Our bodies contain 20 different amino acids, 9 of which we must ingest for proper bodily functioning. Vitamin C is the other necessary input. All are found in moringa – a super food. On so many occasions in developing country conversations I have discovered people who do not eat a variety of foods. The reasons are likely as varied as the people but the consequences are negative. What if we offered them a food with all the necessary nutrients in one package?

In Niger farmers may plant up to 5 times in order to get a stand of their staple food, millet. The weather is just not always cooperative. This must be a great deal of work. Once planted, a good moringa tree will produce for over 20 years. In areas of abundant rainfall, an acre with 800 moringa trees will produce 280,000 pounds of fresh leaves. In areas with dry seasons, the trees will begin to sprout leaves at the end of the dry season when food is in short supply – a situation which is not familiar to developed nations but a very real concern to millions of 10/40 window dwellers.

Where hunger is a problem, the energy balance in food production is important – energy required for producing food versus what the food yields in total digestible nutrients and energy. Moringa trees provide an ongoing supply of very high quality food with minimal input. The leaves, flowers, pods (eaten like green beans or boiled when larger), seeds and roots are edible and help ensure positive health outcomes. Seeds can be crushed and used as a flocculent to purify water, important in many third world situations.

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