Behind the Scenes: The Most Nutritious Grain You’ve Never Heard Of

Film Overview:

The adventure continues! GLP is excited to share our latest film from the on-going partnership with National Geographic. “The Most Nutritious Grain You’ve Never Heard Of” was filmed on-location in West Africa during expedition #glpSenegal. This short-film explores the benefits and cultural importance of a little-known grain called fonio. Heralded as the “new quinoa,” fonio has drought-resistant and gluten-free qualities, making it a power player in the fight to end world hunger. We’re inspired by this film’s potential to shake up the foodie space, but more importantly, by the potential for this African superfood to impact lives across Senegal and beyond.

So what’s so special about fonio?

“Fonio can grow in poor soil, with little water, thus it’s something you can grow several times in the same year, and can adapt to various environments….Fonio will certainly contribute to the world food supply, which depends on water, and water will become scarce.  And small crops that need little water will have an important role in feeding the 9 billion people that we will be one day.”  – Dr. Salimata Wade, Professor of Physiology and Human Nutrition, University of Dakar

For more about alternative grains, check out this article, “What’s the Next Quinoa?  Farmers, Foodies Revive Heritage Grains” from National Geographic.

Behind the Scenes:

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An inside look at fonio production with Senegalese chef, Pierre Thiam. Many foodies prize this powerful grain for its organic, gluten-free, and protein-rich qualities.

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The women of Gie Koba Club Cooperative in Kedougou, Senegal.

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Fonio is an ancient grain with incredible nutritional value, widely considered the “next quinoa.”

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Prepping fonio for packaging is a delicate, yet labor-intensive process.


The grain is sifted to ensure all impurities are removed.

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Fonio could be the answer to feeding the world’s soon-to-be 9 billion occupants in coming decades.

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Aside from addressing issues of health and hunger, fonio is also a cultural staple. Aya Ndiaye believes fonio is an essential part of “the symbolic moments of everyday life…”

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An obvious perk when shooting a foodie film? Digging in when the cameras stop rolling!

Click to watch the full film, The Most Nutritious Grain You’ve Never Heard Of



  • Lindsay says:

    Hello, thank you so much for showing this. I would love to write about this on my website and was wondering: can I use your photos with proper credit and links back and second do you have a fair trade brand of fonio I can recommend to people to ensure any new “boom” of this crop helps local communities? Thanks in advance, you’re doing great work.

    • Laura Knudson Laura Knudson says:

      Hi Lindsay, thanks for your support. Yes, you can use our photos with credit and link to GLP Films. Fonio is very new on the market, and our friend Chef Pierre Thiam is leading the charge in bringing this grain to the U.S. but is already using it in many of his Senegalese recipes. We suggest keeping up with Pierre via his website, for the latest developments on fonio in the marketplace.

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