Why Mesquite ?
1 It provides livestock feed and firewood to some of the poorest people in the world. The 25% of the earth that is semi desert contains the poorest people, the greatest environmental variation, the lowest soil fertility, areas most subject to famine. In these areas thorny, drought hardy mesquite exists and often provides human and livestock food, firewood and charcoal. Over the last 40 years Casa de Mesquite partner Peter Felker has been developing better thornless varieties that produce abundant palatable pod throughout the worlds semi-deserts.
Young woman collecting firewood in Haiti. Mesquite charcoal and firewood is Haiti's largest energy source.
Ouolof woman in Dakar Senegal with a box of pods she collected in a mesquite windbreak to take to her home in the city to feed to her sheep.
Woman in Rajasthan India with a bundle of mesquite firewood
2. It combats climate change by capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Since mesquite is a leguminous plant, it takes nitrogen from the air to make protein. With every pound of nitrogen, it takes from the air, it also takes 13 lbs. of carbon that ends up on the tree and soil under the tree canopy. Large mesquite trees have 8 tons more carbon per acre than soils away from mesquite trees. In semi deserts this carbon and nitrogen is a huge benefit to low fertility soils creating a more sustainable environment.
Farmer in the Rajasthan Desert of India plowing ground for crops such as millet among native mesquite (Khjeri) trees (whose foliage has been harvested for livestock feed) that have been left in the field due to the added nitrogen and organic matter they provide from nitrogen fixation.
3. It helps prevent deforestation by providing a value to standing trees. In Argentina 1 million acres of native forests where mesquite grows have been bulldozed to plant soybeans. Your purchase of mesquite flour stimulates the demand for products that only come from live trees.
4. Mesquite is perhaps the worlds most heat tolerant nitrogen fixing food plant.
Mesquite growing native on the floor of Death Valley California, the hottest place on earth(note man lower right)
5. It makes awesome delicacies when its natural sugar and chocolatey- cinnamon aroma and flavor is combined with chocolate, fruits and dulce de leche ice cream.
Chocolate-mesquite four-less cake at Rick Bayless's Topolobampo Restaurant in Chicago.
Gluten free mesquite chocolate cookie at Jane's on Fillmore in San Francisco
Gluten free waffles with mesquite (left-2 tablespoons mesquite/cup) and without (right)
Peter Felker, Casa de Mesquite partner and scientist with more than 40 years and 50 scientific publications on food science, genetics and soil aspects of mesquite, holder of U. S. Army Bronze Star for work as a conscientious objector in Agriculture in Vietnam, and partners Stefan Wypyszyk and Beth Felker, promise no short cuts in our process that would not eliminate rancidity factors, not eliminate seed weevils, control known human pathogens on mesquite and provide optimal flavor and aroma. We also will strive to help developing countries to develop sustainable production systems for their people.