Fonio, the small West African grain, has a massive mission: Stimulate the economy in sub-Saharan Africa, undo the lingering effects of colonization, and quite possible, save the planet.
Fonio has been cultivated in the Sahel for more than 7,000 years and is regularly found in West African cuisine. Its versatility in the kitchen makes it appealing for chefs such as Tender Greens co-founder Erik Oberholtzer and #2020for2020 chef Pierre Thiam. Its resilience in the face of challenging climates, combined with global demand for alternatives to wheat, is bringing fonio closer and closer into the spotlight.
Thiam, born and raised in Senegal, is the leading advocate for the West African grain, bridging the gap between farmers and consumers, to turn fonio into the grain of the future. Speaking with The Washington Post, Thiam outlines why he believes this crop should become the new quinoa.