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Akrich Nursery

Akrich Nursery Program

 

Above: HAF representatives on arrival to the Akraich nursery entrance. Taken: 29/3/2017

Located within the Jewish sector of Marrakech’s Al- Haouz Provence, about 30 kilometers west of the city, lies one of the High Atlas Foundation’s most inter-religious nursery projects to date. Raphael Cohen, the honored Saint of the nurseries’ location, was a highly active and well-traveled Chief Rabbi of Altona-Hamburg-Wandsbek during the late 16th century. He’s notoriously remembered for his activism to fight against modern culture, being documented to have refused participation in excommunications and wearing his hair in cues (Revovly, 2013). Although Raphael has long since been deceased, his passion for pushing religious boundaries and active modernism lives through the spirit of the High Atlas Foundation’s current nursery project.

Above: A room dedicated to the life of Saint Raphael Cohen located within the nursery walls. Taken: 29/3/2017.

In 2012, a small group of predominantly Jewish members from the Akraich community first reached out to the High Atlas Foundation (HAF). A decision was made, between local villagers and officials, to make effective use out of vacant space within the Raphael Cohen cemetery for HAF fruit trees guilds. The cemetery had been abandoned in the 1940’s and not since utilized until 5 years ago. Although this project was initiated by Jewish community members, Muslim and Christian members are now fully immersed within the project as well, creating an inter-faith dynamic that is unique and highly honored by states throughout Morocco.

Above: A synagogue and mosque rest on a foothill, side-by-side across from the nursery site. Taken: 29/3/2017.

Often referred to as one of the most successful nursery projects in the foundation, the Akraich Nursery is now home to a variety of trees including fig, almond, olive, pomegranate and grape. In March 2017, a total of 23,460 trees were planted as a result of hardworking villagers and diligent donators. Of the trees supplied, the pomegranates ranked at number one with a total number of 10,950 cuttings planted. Then, followed by fig at 6,050, olive at 4,250, almond at 1,260, and finally grape trees at 950.

Above: A mixture of fig, grape, olive and pomegranate trees planted in March 2017. Taken: 29/3/2017

Above: Newly planted pomegranate trees photographed in the foreground, olive trees planted from 2012 seen in the background. Taken: 29/3/2017.

Above: Trees planted along the length of the eastern cemetery wall, beside the remnants of the old marble tombstones. Taken: 3/29/2017.

Once these trees begin to bear fruit, after a year of production, offspring from the trees are then distributed to other nursery site locations around Morocco, to replicate the tree production process. Although seed distribution occurs after a year of bountiful harvest, all fruits provided stay within the community, and are used to feed the village families. This system, thereby successfully decreasing food access barriers for hundreds of villagers in the Akraich district, provides a munificent agricultural economy within Akraich. All maintenance, technical support, and general labor are performed by the Moroccans residing in Akraich. Overall, providing strong Moroccan bonds in the school, mosque, synagogue, and homes of the residents. By working together on the nursery, they not only receive positive reinforcement through bountiful fruits from their labor, but are given the opportunity to work with integrity alongside one another.

Above: Rows of olive, fig and pomegranate cuttings, 3 weeks after their initial planting in early March 2017. Taken: 29/3/2017

This nursery has been celebrated by government officials throughout all of the Al- Haouz Province, including Essaouira’s and Marrakech’s Jewish house representatives and HAF’s very own Dr. Yossef Ben- Meir. During January 2016, the President of Marrakech’s Jewish community, Mr. Jacky Kadosh, beside other government administrators held an opening ceremony, bringing together the local citizens celebrating a common goal, increased food security for all Moroccans.

Further information on previous excursions to the Akraich nursery project can be found here (involving women’s involvement for the project) and here (multicultural agricultural development).

 

  The High Atlas Foundation is committed to improving food security efforts throughout Morocco by subsiding fruit trees to create localized sustainable economies. For more information regarding our community empowerment efforts, please visit the High Atlas Foundation’s Nursery page for a full list of ongoing projects.

 

Citations

Revolvy, LLC. “Rabbi Raphael ben Jekuthiel Susskind Cohen.” Raphael Cohen. N.p., 01 Aug. 2013. Web. 03. Apr. 2017. <http://www.revovly.com/main/index.php?s=Felix. S. Cohen&item.type=topic>.

  • Youth

    Youth

    HAF and community partners give Moroccan schoolchildren and youth access to greater educational opportunities by improving school infrastructure and increasing learning potential.
  • Clean drinking water

    Clean drinking water

     HAF successfully addresses water access challenges for rural communities and schools throughout Morocco.
  • Women’s programs

    Women’s programs

    HAF projects work to combat the traditional socioeconomic marginalization of women by helping them identify their community needs and creating projects to achieve their goals.
  • Cultural diversity

    Cultural diversity

    HAF promotes intercultural partnerships and collaboration towards a common goal: sustainable human development.          
  • HA3: HAF’s social enterprise
     HAF’s award winning social enterprise covers the organic agriculture cycle from nurseries to market. Organic certification increases household incomes, and enables reinvestment into additional in human development projects.

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HAF in Morocco

High Atlas Foundation
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