Organic Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries

by High Atlas Foundation
UNDP GEF SGP & HAF Team Group Shot
UNDP GEF SGP & HAF Team Group Shot

Salaam Alaikum (Peace be with you) to all,

On June 11th the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) Director of Agricultural Programs, Larbi Didouqen, Director of Development, Jacqueline Seeley, and the General Manager for HAF’s HA3 initiative, Ignacio Trincado Ruiz, joined high profile members of the United Nations Development Programme’s Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (UNDP GEF SGP) from all over the world for a tour of HAF’s value chain process from Tadmamt to Ijoukak.

Nestled within the High Atlas Mountains, the Tadmamt locality lies within Marrakech’s Tensift-Al Haouz region. In 2015 HAF facilitated the planting of 320,000 seeds and saplings in 8 nurseries and 85 schools within the Tamamt communities. Recently HAF earned the revered visit of the UNDP GEF SGP through these record-breaking success rates during the 2015 planting season, in combination with commitments to sustainability and participatory practices advocated by the UNDP GEF SGP. HAF’s partnership with the UNDP GEF SGP began in 2013, when the program honored HAF with a SEED (Social and Environmental Entrepreneurship) award.

Facilitated by Morocco’s UNDP GEF SGP representative Ms. Badia Sahmy, the tour began with HAF’s environmentally-mindful missions in Tamamt and Asni. Projects in these regions maintain goals such as preventing forest degradation while encouraging forest preservation through the native and environmentally conscious and profitable walnut and almond plants. The HAF team and the UNDP GEF SGP members then traveled to Ijoukak to behold HAF’s initiatives with various cooperatives, such as medicinal plant and women's cooperatives, all of which maintain a careful regard for the environment and natural resources.

The UNDP GEF SGP prides itself on its mission of “thinking globally acting locally.” The program concludes that environmental and community well-being improvement projects are mutually beneficial and that maximum prosperity emerges through effective collaboration between the two.  

Our organization is honored to achieve such recognition for its work, and is grateful for the tremendous and continuous help and encouragement from its supporters, both local and global alike. HAF would therefore like to extend a great thank you to all those who have followed us, believed in us, and supported us along the way. Let’s keep up the good work!

Warmest wishes,

The High Atlas Foundation Team

HAF's Si Larbi Didouqen Explains Tadmamt Project
UNDP GEF SGP Members Plant Tree in Tadmamt Nursery
UNDP GEF SGP Members Plant Tree in Tadmamt Nursery


Moroccan farmers just finished planting all across Morocco—and HAF had a bigger role in planting and supporting Moroccan farmers this year than ever before, in schools and in nurseries, including those on land donated by the Jewish community.

One nursery that has been active in benefiting farmers is the HAF nursery in Tadamount, established as a partnership between HAF and the High Commission of Waters and Forests of Al Haouz Province. Last month, HAF distributed 37,000 trees from the nurseries, and throughout the year, we have planted 200,000 trees at the nursery. The surrounding communes of Ourika, Oukaimden, Setti Fatma, Asni, Imegdal, Ouirguane, and Tameslouht are all part of the value chain HAF creates by allowing the communities to take the lead in developing the nursery. 

In addition to coordinating walnut production with villages in the surrounding regions, the High Atlas Foundation also supports training stakeholders in the organic process: how to manage nurseries, how to build partnerships, and how to find an alternative to subsistence farming that empowers and supports rural communities.

At a walnut processing facility in Asni, HAF is further extending the value chain by creating a link between rural communities and a broader market. HAF has brought on a volunteer to assist with generating publicity for the initiative with Moroccan companies, and High Atlas Agriculture and Artisanal, or HA3, the social enterprise created by High Atlas Foundation, is investing in organic certification so that the walnuts can be sold in the United States.

From all of us at the High Atlas Foundation, we extend best wishes for health and all good things. HAF has experienced great success in 2014, and we wish nothing but the same for you in 2015. 

Morocco’s model for human development creates enormous possibility for our participatory approach and organic agricultural value-chain, and for the entire region. 

This past quarter, HAF has 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. 

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 is 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. For additional updates from HAF please see here




Participatory planning in Essaouira
Participatory planning in Essaouira

Dear Friend,

Good day and we hope all is well from the team here at the High Atlas Foundation.

Today, I'd like to share with you a specific update for the nursery development in the Essaouira Province.

The key to sustainability has been the participatory planning approach, which thanks to funding from the National Endowment for Democracy has replicated in Essaouira. This training will make your contributions to the organic fruit tree and medicinal herb nurseries all the more important as it will ensure that there are people capable of managing and developing the nurseries you help build.

The aims of this project are to train 5 local people to be trainers in participatory approaches; creation and management of cooperatives; organic agriculture; project implementation and evaluation and participatory data collection. These 5 people will then go into the field to engage local association and cooperative members, elected women and community leaders in these techniques and subjects with a view to supporting further human development in Essaouira Province. Specifically, we hope this project will underpin the functions of the Cooperative Amoud Mogador – the creation of which HAF has facilitated – and the organic tree and plant nursery HAF plans to create in partnership with the coop, ultimately creating greater linkages and dynamism in local civil society. With the networks and capacities built through this training program, we hope to identify local projects and partnerships for future funding through the income generated by the Amoud Mogador Cooperative and HAF’s social enterprise, HA3.

The pictures below are from the September 27-28 workshop where the trainees learned about the Communal Charter and how to proactively intervene in its creation in order to promote local human development. Their trainer was Mr Mustapha Neflous of the Moroccan National Human Rights Council (CNDH).

Here at the High Atlas Foundation we would like to thank you for your continuous support which is critical to building sustainable development. We look forward to providing you with further updates and hearing your ideas for sustainable development.

Kind regards,


The trainer - Mr Mustapha Neflous of CNDH
The trainer - Mr Mustapha Neflous of CNDH


Youth empowerment
Youth empowerment

Ramadan Kareem on behalf of the High Atlas Foundation!

Here at HAF, we are busy with obtaining organic certification for Moroccan agricultural products. Agricultural products marketed through a new social enterprise, High Atlas Agricutlure and Artisanal (HA3), will generate increased income for marginalized populations in Morocco and create a multiplied return.  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 Organic Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries project is especially pertinent to the progress of HA3. The demand for organic and fair-trade agriculture has come directly from rural Moroccans, who wish to break the cycle of subsistence agriculture. The medicinal herb nurseries will especially help to empower women, who will manage the nurseries. During Ramadan, HAF plans to incorporate the participatory development method into nursery management plans and begin training community members in Ouaouizerth, Ait Mhamed, and Tifnoute. Plans for tree-planting and irrigation systems are underway, and with the harvest soon approaching, the need for organic certification becomes increasingly important.

To hear more about HA3, and this new exciting chapter in HAF, view a message from HAF’s president, Yossef Ben-Meir here. Organic certification benefits not only the local communities, but reinvests in Morocco’s agriculture, environment, and education.


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Organization Information

High Atlas Foundation

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Jacqueline Seeley
New York City and Marrakech, NY (US) & AlHaouz (Maroc) Morocco
$10,484 raised of $26,880 goal
97 donations
$16,396 to go
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