Fonio is a tiny, nutritious, climate-smart ancient grain that has been prized across West Africa for over 5,000 years. It's light and fluffy, just a bit nutty, fast-cooking and very forgiving in the pot (in the Sahel, they say “Fonio never embarrasses the cook!”). Use Fonio like a cousin to couscous, albeit with a finer, sandier texture.
Founded in 2017 by Harlem-based chef and restaurateur Pierre Thiam, Yolélé’s mission is to be a stabilizing force for West African smallholder farmers. By direct-sourcing Fonio, West Africa’s oldest cereal grain, Thiam and his team are creating a market for traditional crops grown under resilient farming systems in order to foster a more biodiverse, drought-tolerant landscape across West Africa. Devoting more land to this kind of farming has the potential to regenerate and regreen the Sahel, and provides economic stability for the mostly-female workforce of independent farmers.