On Thursday, the 28th of March, the team of the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) visited with HAF Board Member Martine Roberts the nurseries of Akrich, Imegdal, and Tadmamt. Our first stop was the Akrich nursery where HAF planted over 30,000 almond and fig seeds.
All seeds and cuttings in the nursery are covered with black plastic to increase soil heat and moisture, which enables them to grow faster. Furthermore, all seeds and cuttings are watered regularly using drip irrigation, which provides exactly the right amount of water for every sapling and thereby conserves the precious water resource.
The wonderful aspect about this nursery is its cultural value. While being a nursery, which provides much needed tree saplings to communities all over Morocco, the place is also a Jewish cemetery, where the saint Raphael Ha Cohen is buried. Many pilgrims visit regularly to pray for good health for themselves and their loved ones at the tomb of the Saint, who was known for his healing powers.
After our visit to the nursery and cemetery, we enjoyed a homemade breakfast and then set out for the next nursery in Imegdal. On our way to Imegdal we admired the beautiful countryside along the Ouirgane Dam.
At the Imgdal nursery, HAF planted over 30,000 walnut and 6000 almond seeds as well as thousands of medicinal plants (sage, pelargonium, rosemary, and Cyprus). In addition to walnut, almond, and medicinal plants, the Imgdal nursery is also specialized in the germination and plantation of argan seeds. Hassan, the nursery caretaker, showed us how to prepare the argan seeds for germination in a greenhouse, which is necessary to protect the seeds from harsh weather conditions and to provide the necessary heat.
We also talked to Hassan about the irrigation system. He showed us the water storage on top of a hill, which is connected through pipes to the nursery. It was very clear how committed he is to the nursery and how much care he gives, much like a father for his kids. He proudly explained to us that some plants in the Caddi Ayad University are named after him.
Afterwards we headed to the last nursery of Tadmamt, which is one of the biggest HAF nurseries and currently keeps over 1500,000 seeds of almonds, walnut, and cherry.
After spending the whole day exploring these three beautiful nurseries, we gained good insight into the techniques used in the nursery to ensure successful germination and growth and we experienced the dedication and care that is given to each individual seed and cutting. Our field visit finished with a feeling of sincere appreciation of HAF’s work, which creates life and hope with every single sapling given to a community member.