Ragi is traditionally grown in arid areas in India and Africa, and is adaptable to higher elevations. The harvested seeds can be stored for a long time without being attacked by mold or insects. Due to the growing popularity of Indian food, the flour can be purchased in America and elsewhere. It is a gluten-free ingredient.
Ragi is high in iron and calcium, compared to most other cereal grains. It has the same variety of uses as other grains: leavened and unleavened bread, porridge, etc., and it can be malted or fermented. Malted ragi is a popular infant food in some countries.
The common North American weed E. indica (Indian goosegrass) is an ancestor of E. coracana. Its seeds are also edible, but it would take a long time to gather enough to be useful.
Etymology: Hindi, meaning 'red' (I think), possibly referring to the color of some of the seeds?