Wisconsin Idea Fellowship promotes “miracle tree” in Kenya

MoringaTree2014_3_SofiaHalgrenThrough a Wisconsin Idea Fellowship, UW-Madison students teamed up with several communities in the Kwale District of Kenya  in summer 2014 to plant what the students are calling a “miracle tree.”

The Moringa Tree has been known to thrive in some of the harshest conditions, yet its green leaves produce nutritional benefits that have reversed the health of entire communities in South America, Asia and Africa.

In 2013, African Studies certificate holder Aubrey Winkie (’14) was asked to research the tree for a reforestation project by Araceli Alonso, an associate faculty member in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. After helping to plant around 200 Moringa trees in southern Kenya, Winkie teamed up with two other UW-Madison students – senior Ali Miller and junior Sofia Halgren – to submit an application for a Wisconsin Idea Fellowship through the Morgridge Center for Public Service. Their application was one of nine Wisconsin Idea Fellowship proposals offered funding for the year and the project launched in summer 2014.

Money from the Wisconsin Idea Fellowship grant bought a milling machine for the area villages to use collectively. Community members voted to share the machine amongst seven villages – creating the ‘Moringa Mill Cooperative” for grinding Moringa leaves as well as corn.

“Miracle of the Moringa,” Morgridge Center for Public Service, 2/4/2015.