Inspecting the onions growing in the garden
In July, the team held a successful project kick off meeting at Dar Taliba with key project partners RESING, a hydrology consulting firm, and permaculture design specialists Radiant Design. We’re pleased to report that the construction of the Dar Taliba garden has now begun!
The garden will include a nursery where some 25 medicinal and aromatic plant species will be cultivated during the months of September and October 2017. All the species grown in the nursery have been identified, through our participatory research, by the local community as useful, threatened or endemic – many of which have a high market value including thyme, lavender and sage. This will ensure that the project will meet the needs of the local community, deliver impact and is sustainable in the long-term. Most of the species from the nursery will be distributed to the wider community for enrichment planting throughout the course of the project, whilst a small amount will be kept for demonstration gardens within the school grounds. These will be used to grow produce for school meals as well as provide training spaces for the girls and other community members. The educational aspect will form an integral part of the project, as explained by Dar Taliba Director, Jamila:
“As for this particular project, I personally believe that the girls would learn a lot from it. They all love working in the garden and are always excited to learn more about each plant. The knowledge they will acquire here will not only help them but it will also help their respective communities. I’d love for this project to continue in time and space and I hope for the girls to gain more knowledge about the essential oils which will enable them to create local products that could later on be commercialised.”
Finally, a greenhouse and community seed bank will be incorporated into the new design. The latter will be used for the conservation of wild plant species and traditional, local crop varieties.
As reported on previously, the gardens will be supported by a newly established state-of-the-art irrigation system. This will allow for year-round growing and maintenance of the 6,000m2 gardens. We’re therefore excited to see that the construction of the irrigation system is now in full swing with RESING currently in the process of conducting topographic work to bring water from the main source to Dar Taliba with a high flow and good quantities. The installation will be completed before the end of the year. In the meantime, the garden is currently being irrigated with water provided by a local association.
As you can see, it’s been a busy summer for the team and work will continue apace over the next few months with construction of the garden due to be completed by the end of the year. Once the gardens are ready, the girls and local community will begin participating in their management and developing skills in permaculture cultivation methods, seed saving, water management, post-harvest plant processing and marketing of plant products…we cannot wait!
The photos accompanying this report show the highlights of the kick-off meeting. Photo credits: Hajar, Morocco Field Scientist and Mediterranean Communications Officer (GDF & MBLA)
Working on the garden's new design
Discussing the irrigation and educational aspects
Hassan (MBLA) meeting Laila (Radiant Design)