High Atlas Food Market celebrates World Biodiversity Day

By Pommelien da Silva Cosme. Photos by Ibtissam Bouseta.

28 June 2021

World Biodiversity Day is an important day to remind ourselves to honour and protect biodiversity and to celebrate the deep connection between humans and nature. Food is an integral component of how we humans connect to nature and with that comes the responsibility to become mindful of what we eat and the efforts we put in to encourage sustainable food production and harmless agricultural practices. We have an important role to play in using biodiversity and producing food in a sustainable way that doesn’t harm our environment.

To celebrate #WorldBiodiversityDay this year, our local partner organised a High Atlas Food Market on 22nd May in collaboration with High Atlas cooperatives and our local GDF team to promote biodiversity-friendly local products that support community livelihoods. 

We invited eight rural cooperatives from different regions of the High Atlas to introduce and sell their local products to urban consumers at the event, which was held in Marrakech.For some cooperatives, it was their first time participating and selling products at a public event but that didn’t stop them from providing delicious food tastings and interacting with visitors.

Local kids ready to eat the delicious food they prepared

During the event, we organised a cooking workshop with kids from the old Marrakech medina (the ancient city centre), using products from the cooperatives as a way to introduce them to the healthy and delicious food High Atlas biodiversity has to offer. The kids prepared delicious salads, sandwiches, couscous and cookies using natural ingredients brought by the cooperatives.

Later that day, we held a seminar facilitated by a Moroccan nutrition specialist to raise awareness about the importance of eating healthy foods, including nutritious benefits of natural products such as the High Atlas cooperatives’ produce including honey, thyme, almonds, saffron and much more.

Seminar on eating local and healthy

At the end of the event, our partner MBLA handed out free product baskets to three lucky people that purchased products at the market. With over 100 visitors, the event was a great success and some cooperatives even completely sold out their products!

The next day, our partner MBLA organised and facilitated a series of workshops on product quality and branding, marketing and social media to support our capacity-building efforts of the cooperatives, as part of the wider training programme we offer them. We look forward to organising more of these markets and to continue facilitating events and training for local cooperatives and communities, with support from the UK Darwin Initiative and the MAVA Foundation.

Market visitors getting to know local cooperatives and their products