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The High Atlas Foundation Joins Communities at Annual Asni Walnut Festival

Updated: Jul 20

June 23, 2015

Marrakesh, Morocco

The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) recently participated in the only Moroccan festival solely dedicated to the celebration of walnuts and almonds. At the festival this year, held June 12-14, HAF showcased its organic certified walnut oils and packaged nuts produced at the walnut processing facility, located just up the street from the festivities. The Facility, built in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and co-managed with Idrarn Cooperative, is the first-ever organic nut-processing system in all of Morocco, making HAF and it’s partners pioneers and leaders in the development of organic agriculture in Morocco.

Now in its 8th consecutive year, the annual three-day festival decorates the streets of Asni, a small village south of Marrakesh, for a weekend of music, markets, and celebration.  At the Asni Walnut handling facility, local women process organic walnuts and extract oil for food and cosmetics.  To date, over 40 local women have produced more than 6 tons of processed organic walnuts and 600 liters of organic walnut oil.

The sale of this product, both nationally and internationally, will give local Moroccan farmers access to global markets, increasing profits and support community investment in education, water projects, and women and youth.

These sales represent the culmination of more than 15 years of HAF’s deep, community-driven investment. The program success derives from consorted efforts with: Lucky’s Farmers Market, U.S. Department of State Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science, the High Commission of Waters and Forests, United Nations Development Programme’s Global Environmental Fund, the National Endowment for Democracy, and many more.

As part of its commitment to the entire agricultural value chain, HAF has also planted 1,320,000 fruit trees in community nurseries, schools, orchards throughout Morocco; provided experiential training for 3,000 people; and has helped established more than 20 cooperatives and associations.

The High Atlas Foundation, established in 2000, is a Moroccan-US non-governmental organization committed to assisting local Moroccan communities in the identification and implementation of development projects through participatory planning. Founded by former Peace Corps Volunteers, the High Atlas Foundation currently facilitates projects including organic farming, clean drinking water, irrigation, women’s cooperatives, youth and education development, participatory training, and political empowerment.

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