From the High Atlas Foundation Team, we wish a Happy New Year and best wishes for health and all good things.
Morocco’s model for human development creates enormous possibility for our participatory approach and organic agricultural value-chain, and for the entire region.
The High Atlas Foundation 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. Starting from next month, we are scheduled to export to the United States 14 tons of organic certified walnuts from the High Atlas Mountains. In January 2014, HAF planted its one millionth seed in Morocco. With our full value chain in place, we may - Insha’Allah - achieve much greater scale.
In 2015, HAF and communities propose that together we plant a total of four million seeds and saplings of 12 types of fruit trees and more than 20 aromatic plant varieties - all of which may receive internationally recognized organic certification.
This can be achieved at a total cost of $2.5 million, with a resulting direct impact on 200,000 rural inhabitants and an indirect one benefiting a further 40,000. We hope with all our heart that we may receive your support to plant this season. Every dollar enabled HAF to plant its first million trees.
We thank you and wish you a wonderful day!
Good day and we hope all is well from the team here at the High Atlas Foundation.
As some of you may know, it is currently the nut harvest. What does that mean for the HAF team? It means we’re busy in the field, coordinating with local farmers, ensuring organic practices are upheld, setting-up the processing machines and getting ready to buy our first batch of organic nut product.
With this harvest, the HAF and its social enterprise HA3 teams are working to complete the first ever purchase, processing and sale of organic certified walnuts and almonds. Organic certification has been secured and initial funding is available. Negotiations are underway with the Atlas farmers. Once product is obtained, it will be cleaned, packaged and shipped to the US.
This is a very exciting and pivotal time for HAF, HA3 and most importantly the thousands of Moroccans this initiative will benefit. These organic, fair-trade, environmentally sustainable, and socially responsible products will empower rural Moroccans while simultaneously improving their access to clean drinking water and education through reinvestment.
The irrigation systems project is especially pertinent to the progress of HA3 as without proper water resource management, progress is reduced, or worse, harm could be done. Water management is the most essential portion of the food value chain that HAF and HA3 are facilitating farmers to capitalize upon. It is crucial that proper water management be developed in each and every nursery or orchard, which currently remains to be completed.
High Atlas Agricultural and Artisanal (HA3) partners with farmers across Morocco to transform its agricultural system. Through replacing subsistence farming with a green economy—training farmers in organic agricultural methods and providing the infrastructure needed for this transition—HA3 lifts farmers out of poverty and paves the way for sustainable development.
Throughout Morocco HAF is committed to creating green economic growth as means to lift rural farmers out of poverty and increase household revenues. In turn, improved incomes can be reinvested into communities to support sustainable development. Through employing a community participatory approach, HAF partners with communities to identify their greatest needs. This approach facilitates the implementation of projects as it sets up communities as central agents in their own development.
HAF’s projects related to irrigation systems for fruit tree or medicinal plant nurseries, such as in Azilal or Taroudant, fits into this method of sustainable development as it exposes farmers to organic agricultural methods and helps to diversify their sources of income. While these communities identified irrigation as a priority, HAF provided the infrastructure needed to meet this need. In the past five months HAF has made exciting headway in these two provinces:
The irrigation systems have provided the necessary resource, water, to both maintain community nurseries, and support the development of communities. Connected to this project, the installation of potable water basins supplied clean water to communities. Thanks to your generous support HAF has been able to expand the scope of its irrigation system projects and make a real difference in Morocco’s agricultural communities.
The High Atlas Foundation has partnered with communities in the Tifnoute Valley and in the Ouirgane Commune to design community development projects based upon the needs identified by community members. HAF relies upon a participatory development approach to human development, in which trainers empower the community to identify, develop and management projects to increase household incomes.
In time for World Water Day on March 22nd, the communities of the Tifnoute Valley and in the Ouirgane Commune have designed new land and water management systems, which will provide clean drinking water, create land terraces to expand viable land for planting, and spread knowledge about climate change challenges and share best practices for environmental conservation. These trainings will be underscored with capacity building and other tools that allow communities to respond to environmental changes.
These projects make way for the planting of new tree nurseries to increase household incomes. Your support helps HAF to deliver training and increase capacities of Morocco’s most remote villages. Thank you for delivering skills and trainings to the families of the Tifnoute Valley and in the Ouirgane Commune.
On 16th January 2014 a milestone event in the calendar of the High Atlas Foundation is scheduled to take place in various locations throughout Morocco, with the celebration of its successfully completed 'One Million Tree Campaign'. Over ten years, we estimate to have helped 50,000 people make the step out of poverty. The project is poised to continue indefinitely, at an accelerated pace, with 500,000 young trees expected to be planted in 2014 alone.
The planting of HAF's One Millionth Fruit Tree will occur at noon on 16th January 2014 in eight provinces simultaneously where HAF currently has projects: Al Haouz, Azilal, Boujdour, Essaouira, Ifrane, Rhamna, Taroudant, and Taza.
As a part of Sami’s project, this event will be celebrated with schoolchildren, and the millionth tree will be planted in school yards as symbol of commitment for this generation and the next to take care of our earth and find sustainable methods for our lives. We do this in memory of Sami El Kouhen who passed away from cancer at three years old.
As we approach this historic occasion, we are reminded of how far we’ve come since the inception of the HAF agriculture project in 2003. Each year this project has accelerated rapidly towards the One Million Tree goal, with 235,000 trees planted in 2013, capping four consecutive record-breaking years.
Land is made available by a variety of interested parties including the Moroccan High Commission for Water, Forests and Desertification Control, cooperatives, municipalities, women’s associations and the Jewish community of Marrakesh. We plant recognizing the High Atlas Foundation’s Peace Corps roots, with the Ouaouizerth of Azilal community where the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens served as a Volunteer, in southern Morocco remembering former Volunteer Kate Jeans-Gail and her mother Victoria, and in the north inspired by former Volunteer Tom Tolen – allah yarHamu, God rest their souls. We plant, with faith in the Moroccan people and in humanities future, and we will not stop.
Fruit seeds and saplings including carob, olive, pomegranate, almond and walnut are planted in nurseries managed entirely on organic lines. At the end of each project mature trees are distributed at the symbolic cost of 1 Moroccan Dirham (a fraction of their true market value) to the surrounding population, starting with the most marginalised. In this way the local and national economy is being developed through a variety of business initiatives, overseen initially by HAF. Crucially, the land management strategies put into place prevent erosion and desertification.
Ten years ago, we could only dream that the Campaign would blossom into a powerful tool for breaking the cycle of poverty, strengthening the communities’ connection to local environmentalism to achieve socio-economic empowerment. Through HAF’s participatory approach, tree nurseries have lead to other human development projects: fruit tree plantations, women’s coops, local irrigation projects, youth empowerment and educational projects and much more. Each project improves confidence, income and socio-economic development in rural and often marginalized communities.
Initiatives inspired from the 1 Million Tree Campaign
Organic Certification: The HAF-initiated organic agriculture project spans the entire development process – from nurseries to market. HAF trains rural famers in organic agriculture techniques and empowers them with the skills to expand these projects. By securing organic certification, farmers are able to generate higher revenue for their produce.
High Atlas Agriculture and Artisanal (HA3): The HAF is in process of establishing an enterprise to manage the agriculture initiative. With 1 million trees planted, and millions more to come, this enterprise will unite rural farmers, allowing them to market their produce in the domestic and international market. HAF was recognized as 2013 SEED Award winners for this achievement in innovation, entrepreneurship and promising efforts to promote economic growth, social development and environmental protection in Morocco.
HA3 will distribute a portion of the net profit generated to family farmers for additional income. The remaining income will be directly reinvested in the community, by funding new human developed projects in education, health, and women’s and youth empowerment, initiatives identified and implemented by community members.
Zero Waste Commitment: The HAF has made a Zero Waste Commitment to account for the waste produced by these 1 million trees. Fruit trees produce agricultural waste, be it nut shells and hulls, or fallen leaves, the HAF has a plan to repurpose this waste.
In order to break subsistence agriculture, Morocco needs to plant billions of trees and plants (according to its own projections). HAF is proud to have contributed 1 million trees to this cause, and will continue to expand our agriculture project until we reach that next million. As profits from the sale of organic produce are reinvested in human development projects, HAF is confident that this project will continue to accelerate each year. It took us 10 years to plant our first million trees, help us plant the next million in 2 years! Community partners are ready, are you?
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President of the High Atlas Foundation
NYC, NY (US) and Marrakech, Al Haouz (Maroc),