« Can we create a far better future for communities by implementing catalyst and formative agricultural projects that have profound socio-economic and environmental benefits? This is a moment of decision, before the end of March and the 2013 tree planting season passes.” – HAF President, Yossef Ben-Meir
Time to Plant with the People
A Message from HAF’s President
The High Atlas Foundation is on course for a smashing planting season in Morocco, but we could do even more, and we must do all we can by the end of March.
HAF is dedicated to the ENTIRE agricultural process – from tree nurseries to organic certification of fruit(doubling prices for farmers), to markets and export, and all the training and partnership-building required along the way. The HAF model empowers women and youth associations, entire villages and communes. The projects are the people’s and create revenue streams for new community investments in irrigation, clean drinking water, schools, and business and education cooperatives.
Two year old walnut trees purchased to be planted in orchards cost about 12 dirhams. HAF community nurseries enable the people to pay only 2 dirhams (1/6 the cost), and transfers the new skills to local people, generating employment. HAF is distributing now to family farmers 20,000 walnut trees and planting 100,000 more seeds in the Toubkal commune nursery, launched in 2006 in memory of Kate Jeans-Gail, a former Morocco Peace Corps Volunteer. We can do so much more, and we are – planting two other community nurseries in the Al Haouz province, olive orchards and cactus fruit plants in Rhamna, and with 9 rural elementary schools and students – Sami’s Project.
I ask: Who would like to enable community nurseries in the Azilal province in the Communes of Ait Mhamed and Ouaouizerth (where the late Ambassador Chris Stevens served as a Peace Corps Volunteer)? HAF-communities can implement them, but loving people and groups need to fund the costs. I am asking: Can we make a far better future for communities by implementing catalyst and formative agricultural projects that are fully economic and environmental? It costs $30,000 per site – for needed irrigation, green houses, training, and seeds..
Is there a collective HAF voice out there that hears me? The time is now and short, and the course of the future for so many people will know a far better and empowering day. It is so unfortunate if we must wait another a year, when the people are now ready, when potential and the inevitable for shared prosperity are postponed. When entire communities come together and agree on a priority human development need and project, they should not be denied, or even delayed. After all, it is women without means, and girls and boys laboring, and the well-intentioned without recourse.
HAF is in Morocco to provide a participatory way, and the people have responded, and so let’s implement, let’s build it, let the seeds be many, for the love and sake of humanity.
Happy planting wherever that might be,
Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir
High Atlas Foundation