Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting

by High Atlas Foundation
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Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting
Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting
Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting
Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting
Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting
Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting
Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting
Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting
Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting
Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting
Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting
Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting
Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting
Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting
Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting
A view of the site
A view of the site


After much planning and preparing, we are on schedule for the implementation of the fruit tree nursery in Akraich of Amizmiz, outside of Marrakech in the Al Haouz province.  Architects have designed the layout of the nursery. The area has been cleaned out, approximately 50 truck loads of earth and fertilizer has been delivered and spread onto terraces. A drip system expert has joined the team and installation of the irrigation system is currently being installed, and the well is currently being deepened by about 50 meters.  
Surrounding communities are well engaged in the project, and the Moroccan Jewish community of Marrakech has been an excellent partner. In fact, we at HAF are signing contracts for two more parcels of land for community tree nurseries. 
When the planting is complete by February, we will send press releases (in English, French and Arabic) with the message of diverse partnership, shared prosperity, and unity.  With your help, we can utilize this new system and space to its full potential. This will literally chance the lives of community members, bringing them a sustainable source of income for the first time. 
President Yossef Ben-Meir onsite in Akraich
President Yossef Ben-Meir onsite in Akraich


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This is the time of year when HAF prepares projects for the upcoming planting season, which begins with the rains.

Attached are photos of the land lent by the Jewish Community of Marrakech for the fruit tree nursery to be planted at Akraïch.  

As a reminder, after the 2nd and the 5th years, the young trees are transplanted from the nursery to the private orchards of farming families neighboring the site.

We are currently working on another agreement with the Jewish Community in Marrakech in the Ourika Valley of the High Atlas Mountains, in the Al Haouz province.


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MAY 2012

Last week an agreement was signed between HAF and the (Moroccan) Jewish Community of Marrakech*, and a pilot project is now in the planning stages. [*In Morocco, a “Jewish Community” is a legal entity, much like a Commune, and it has a president.] 


The project premise is: 

Sprinkled throughout Morocco, Jewish sacred shrines occupy land owned by the local Jewish Communities, and these are often in rural areas. The Jewish Community will lend HAF some arable land adjoining a particular religious shrine for 5 years so that HAF can build a community tree nursery there, training representatives of the neighboring villages in fruit tree arboriculture as they build and maintain the nursery over the 5-year period. At the end of the 2nd and 5th years, young trees will be distributed to the poorer families in the local villages, and the newly-trained cultivators will pass along their knowledge to the other villagers. 

Morocco has had a rich religious history. In the 8th century AD when the Arabs brought Islam to present-day Morocco, Jewish people had already inhabited Morocco since 70 CE, co-existing with the Berber peoples, sharing language and culture. This combined Moroccan Muslim and Jewish community project will be another reminder of this rich shared history and mutual respect.

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MARCH 2012

This combined Morocccan Jewish and Muslim Community project is expected to be the first HAF project to take place in the Province of Essaouira, which is a different region, with different soil, less water, a different population, and different challenges in addressing poverty issues. Therefore, we need to identify different solutions.

Because the soil, climate, terrain, and growing conditions are completely different, studies have been underway to identify the trees to plant, suppliers of saplings and to further clarify the technical aspects of the project, even as new partnerships are being developed with local authorities and communities.  

At the same time, because this is to be a pilot project, a lot of careful planning is being put into essentially creating a large, kingdom-wide project, with this as only the first step.

Partnership is always important to the success of development projects, and so we are at the stage of bringing together groups, building trust, and preparing the way for the next steps to come.


Stay tuned ...


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 This project will plant 120,000 almond and pomegranate seeds and saplings over five years on 1 hectare of land, located from the outer wall of the housing building that is part of the complex of the burial site of the revered Rabbi Nissim ben Nissim, in the Ait Bayoud village of the Essaouira province.  The arable land is provided in-kind by the Moroccan Jewish community for this proposed tree nursery of fruit varieties that do not require pesticides.  The project is for the benefit the surrounding rural villages that are socio-economically disadvantaged. 


At the beginning of the project’s first year (February-March 2012), 60,000 pomegranate and almond seeds/saplings will be planted on the contributed land, and after two years the trees will be distributed for free to approximately 500 households of the surrounding villages.  People will plant the trees in their own orchards; they will also maintain them and be the sole beneficiaries of the new income generated from fruit yields.  The third year, the land will be left fallow and revitalize.  At the beginning of the project’s fourth year, 60,000 fruit saplings will be planted again, and will be distributed to an additional 500 households (1,000 total) at the end of the project’s fifth year.  After 6 to 8 years, the 100,000 trees (factoring in survival rates) will generate for the rural communities approximately $7,500,000 in fruit yields, which will increase multiple-fold average household incomes.  The project will also sustainably prevent erosion and desertification.   


This proposal to partner with the High Atlas Foundation to fully implement the Moroccan community-managed fruit tree nursery kindly requests $46,450.  The new Initiative to restore and preserve Jewish cemeteries in Morocco, which is under Royal Patronage, is synergistic with this proposed project that embodies diverse cultural partnership to develop rural communities that neighbor a Jewish cemetery.  This proposed project is a pilot project; there are other similar special sites in rural areas that the Moroccan Jewish community can potentially contribute.  The project creates a real example of Moroccan diversity and unity, and implementing it will also create a vital international example of diverse collaboration.

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Organization Information

High Atlas Foundation

Location: New York, NY - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AtlasHigh
Project Leader:
Yossef Ben-Meir
President of the High Atlas Foundation
New York City and Marrakech, Morocco
$15,910 raised of $28,000 goal
306 donations
$12,090 to go
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