From all of us at the High Atlas Foundation, we extend best wishes for health and all good things.
The High Atlas Foundation also most humbly invites you to one or more symbolic tree planting ceremonies proposed for this planting season starting in January.
Agriculturally, we assist communities currently in eight provinces of Morocco as they plant nurseries, secure organic certification, build cooperatives, benefit from training and create partnerships enabling processing and delivery of product to the global market.
We are engaged in all aspects of the value-chain – and we can report that it works with great results. We are so very grateful to our incredible partners.
HAF entered into partnerships with the High Commission of Waters and Forests, municipalities, schools, universities, associations (including the Jewish community of Morocco), cooperatives and families - all have lent land for at least five years to establish community tree nurseries.
Furthermore, HAF and it’s social enterprise HA3 have new logos that embrace what HAF stands for “Developing a self-sustaining future for Morocco.”
You may read more about what accomplishment's HAF and HA3 have achieved here.
May you have a wonderful day and we wish you all the best.
The High Atlas Foundation Team
Due to the success of the community tree nursery on arable land lent by the Jewish Community of Marrakech, located near the village of Akraich in the Al Haouz province, the Moroccan Jewish community has lent an additional four parcels of land for nurseries. Three of the added parcels are in the Al Haouz province, and the fourth is located in the Azilal province. The High Atlas Foundation is also developing a partnership with the Moroccan Jewish Community of Casablanca in order to build a community tree nursery on their land located in the region of Ourzazate. Larbi Didouqen, the co-Vice President of High Atlas Foundation aids in the management of one of these nurseries in Akraich. Recently, trees have been planted in the primary school, specifically eucalyptus, fig, and pomegranate trees. These fruit and medicinal trees not only combat deforestation and desertification, aiding in environmental sustainability, but they also provide added sources of income for the rural community in Akraich. Because of this especially hot & dry summer, a local development association offered to assist in irrigation for this nursery. Generally, the well is sufficient throughout the year, but this sunny and hot summer proved the need for assistance. A special thanks goes to this association, for without their help with irrigation and materials, the nursery would have suffered.
These projects alleviate rural poverty by providing fruit trees that grow organically, while also building productive partnerships among Morocco's ethnic and religious groups.
The Akraich community nursery—consisting of trees planted on Jewish land that will later be distributed to impoverished rural communities—simultaneously helps to undermine subsistence farming while building interfaith relationships. These exchanges are vital to the health of a community as they both promote trust between the Moroccan Jews and Muslim, as well as encourage environmental stewardship. Connected to the Akraich project, HAF recently brought clean water to the nursery’s neighboring elementary School. While HAF supplied the 8000m of piping needed to connect the school to the nearest clean water source, the actual labor to install these materials was provided by the Akraich community. The community nursery as well as this water sanitation project each capture the collaborative and generous spirit of the Moroccan people.
As the two year mark of the Akraich community nursery approaches the next stage, targeted for January 2015, involves transplanting these saplings to private orchards. Accompanying this transfer, local farmers will continue to be trained in the technical skills needed to care for the trees. Through educating farmers and raising awareness regarding the importance of environmental preservation, the project forges a pathway for sustainable development.
Thanks to your continued support, HAF has been able to increase the scale of this project and reach a wider population, as well as unite diverse communities via their common interest of building a stronger Morocco.
On January 16, 2014 the High Atlas Foundation celebrated the planting of one million trees by planting on 43 sites all over Morocco. The tree nursery in Akraich was a special site where Muslim and Jewish communities came together to break ground and cultivate trees in the spirit of openness that has characterized Morocco’s unique history of multicultural cohabitation. The Akraich nursery is build on land owned by Marrakech’s Jewish community and is an important pilgrimage site where the Jewish saint Raphael HaCohen is buried.
Marrakech’s Jewish community leaders came together with the Muslim villagers of Akraich to share lunch and discuss the importance of the tree planting thorughout Morocco, and the interfaith partnerships that support this goal. The Akraich partnership, initiated by HAF and made possible by your support of the project, gives rural community members access to agricultural training and increased income through the planting of fruit and nut trees.
Your generous contributions to HAF and the communities of rural Morocco further the goal of sustainability, which can only be achieved through widespread collaboration and engagement of various partners that allow integration of support networks. HAF spreads it roots wide and sows them deep. 1,000,000 trees are accompanied by many long, deep roots, which support each other and converge for mutual development.
Thanks to continued support from you and our local partners, HAF recently signed four new agreements with the Moroccan Jewish Community of Marrakech to build tree nurseries on land adjacent to Jewish cultural sites. These nurseries will be for the benefit of the local communities and this agricultural initiative will be incorporated into a federation of cooperatives that promote organic, fair trade agricultural and artisanal products from Morocco.
Last planting season, HAF implemented this multicultural agriculture project on land near the Akraich village (Al Haouz province), adjacent to the sacred site of the Jewish “saint” Rabbi Raphael Ha Cohen. With the generous support of the Lodestar Foundation and wife and husband Wahiba Estergard and Michael Gilliland, HAF and local partners planted 50,000 fruit seeds for the benefit of approximately 8,000 people. In the second year of this five year project, trees from the community-managed nursery will be distributed to each household (starting with single mothers) in the local Muslim community. The trees will be planted and maintained by each farming family, in their own orchards, for their sole benefit. Trees are also distributed in-kind to primary schools in the municipality, as a part of Sami’s Project.
This project, in addition to increasing household incomes, has created on a local and national level a symbol for Moroccan collaborating among Muslim and Jewish groups to advance sustainable human development. This collaboration is mirrored in our cultural projects, which promote multicultural history in Essaouira.
On January 16th, (which falls on the Jewish holiday Tu B'ishvat), the High Atlas Foundation will plant its 1 millionth tree in the 8 provinces where we currently have agricultural projects, simultaneously at noon. In Akraich, we will plant and distribute trees on that day.
Thanks to your generous support, HAF and local partners are able to expand the scope of this agirculture initiative, providing sustainable solutions to rural poverty. HAF and community members are so thankful for your donation, which has provided trees to be planted in the spirit of interfaith cooperation.
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New York City and Marrakech,