Rabat - The Slow Food movement coming to Morocco, by way of “Les Incroyables Comestibles,” or Incredible Edibles, an NGO founded by Moroccan native Mohamed Chafchaouni.
Rabat – The Slow Food movement coming to Morocco, by way of “Les Incroyables Comestibles,” or Incredible Edibles, an NGO founded by Moroccan native Mohamed Chafchaouni.
Italian activist Carlo Petrini founded the Slow Food movement in 1986. The movement promotes family cooking, organic agriculture and small farms opposed to the global “McDonaldization” of food production and consumption.
Mohamed Chefchaouni, inspired by his recent trip to France, decided to promote the Slow Food movement in Morocco.
While in France, Chefchaouni discovered vegetable trays (an agricultural method which promotes vegetable growth without pollution or chemicals by growing individual plants in so-called ‘plant cells’) and excited by this agricultural innovation, he contacted François Rouillay, vice-president of Ibn Al Baytar Association, and member of Slow Food International.
“The idea of Les Incroyables Comestibles is a return to the earth with sustainable development techniques. I thought it was complementary to our work for Slow Food,” said its founder.
To get around administrative problems, the project was launched in Labrachoua, a small village 50 kilometers away from Rabat. An association of modern young farmers worked passionately to spread awareness of the new methods among villagers.
Launched in September 2013, the movement seemed to touch a cultural nerve. Twenty-three out of 60 families in the village have created their own organic vegetable gardens.
“We have strengthened ties between families and created power,” said Mohamed Chafchaouni.
The most important workers at the agricultural center are women, who are also the primary beneficiaries of this new agricultural approach.
According to the head of Les Incroyables Comestibles, “All developments start with women.” ESPOD, an association of female entrepreneurs hosts a kindergarten and allows female participants in training to become independent. Embroidery, baking, cooking—the women acquire expertise in a little under a year.
The project’s heart is located in a garden of herbs and organic vegetables that women and children learn to make sustainable. Seeds, provided by the association Earth and Humanism, are recovered and replanted.
“We want to provide an example for people living in the Medina to create their own green space, even in substandard housing,” said Amina Bellil, manager of the center.
These initiatives are much larger than merely a “return to nature.” Besides the nurturing of plants, it is the attitudes of village youth that are truly nourished.
“Developing green love makes you feel better,” explained Amina Bellil. Working in these gardens helps “to get people out of distress.”
In this regard, Morocco seems most suitable for such alternative actions, as the soil and climate are favorable for alternative agriculture.
“There is an indescribable excitement around Morocco,” saaid Abbes Benaissa, projects coordinator in the Earth and Humanism Association. He cited examples of Swani Tiqa, an agro-ecological gardens market near Rabat, as well as the educational garden in the city of Dar Bouazza, near Casablanca, and other such exciting initiatives.
Les Incroyables Comestibles’ arrival in Rabat is planned for September 2015. Mohamed Chafchaouni is confident: “I believe in its success. We are many who advocate for a new world.”
Edited by Ilona Alexandra
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