The annual Moussem festival in Ait M’hamed: a celebration of tradition and biocultural diversity (Part 2)

As highlighted in our previous blog post on the biocultural diversity fair organised during the annual Moussem festival in Aït M’hamed, the exciting activities didn’t stop there! We kicked off the third day of the festival with a colourful workshop on natural plant dyes hosted at the Dar Chabab youth centre. Aïcha, a local expert on plant dyes, shared her knowledge with a group of 14 women and demonstrated the process of dying wool black with a mixture of Fraxinus dimorphaleaves and Taroubia root (Rubia tinctorum).

The annual Moussem festival in Ait M’hamed: a celebration of tradition and biocultural diversity (Part I)

During the last week of April, we left our desks for a few days to participate in the annual Moussem festival in Ait M’hamed, a lively village located in the High Atlas mountains. Together with our partner Global Diversity Foundation, we used the opportunity of this gathering to host a festival stand and organise a biocultural diversity fair aimed at disseminating the work of GDF-MBLA’s High Atlas Cultural Landscapes (HACL) programme as well as creating spaces for discussion regarding biological and cultural interactions.

Spring in full swing at Dar Taliba

Over the past months, the Dar Taliba boarding house gardens  have flourished. The girls have harvested lots of delicious vegetables, enough to provide weekly school meals for all 130 girls currently in residence. “The vegetables from our garden which the girls have planted taste much better than the ones from the souk (local market),” Dar Taliba gardener Al Hoessein says.

High Atlas community welcomes annual health caravan

During the last weekend of February we organised our very first health caravan in Aït M’hamed together with our partners Global Diversity Foundation (GDF) and l’Association des Amis du CHU Mohammed VI. With only two nurses, one doctor and one dispensary to serve the entire commune of Aït M’hamed, the annual one-day health caravan – which provides free medical consultations and treatment – is a vital part of our programme to support the health and wellbeing of the communities where we work, especially during the cold winter when there is a lot of rain and snowfall.

Supporting local livelihoods across Imegdale, Morocco

During the months of December and January, together with our partner Global Diversity Foundation, we fulfilled our annual commitment to distribute plants for cultivation in communities throughout Imegdale rural commune in the High Atlas. Over the course of one week, we distributed 14,992 plants to 40 members of the local cooperative from 9 different villages of the Imegdale community.

Training begins for 130 girls in conservation practices and indigenous plant knowledge

In collaboration with our partner organisations Global Diversity Organisation (GDF) and Radiant Design, we are now in the process of completing the construction of 6,000 m2 of school gardens. The five sections are designed to conserve wild plant species and traditional crop varieties for local communities. The gardens also provide a training space for students to develop new skills and knowledge in plant conservation, plant uses, agroecology techniques and indigenous practices.

Festival season in the High Atlas – engaging with communities on conservation and traditional plant knowledge

In October 2017, we were invited by the ‘Friends of Toubkal National Park for Conservation of the Environment and the Walnut Tree Association’ to join the annual Asni Walnut Festival. Each year, the festival enlivens the streets of Asni, a village to the south of Marrakesh, with music, markets, and celebration. This year, there were more than 50 stands where individuals and cooperatives sold local crafts and produce. This gave us the opportunity to conduct an inventory of some 25 aromatic and medicinal species and products, including price and point of origin.