By Pommelien da Silva Cosme, Mediterranean Programme and Communications Coordinator
27 January 2020
Since the beginning of the school year, the 153 Dar Taliba students have been doing an amazing job in the school garden, which needed a lot of work after a long and dry summer! So far, the girls have participated in 18 trainings during which they studied the uses of various plants and worked on several permaculture techniques, including making an organic pesticide.
During a vegetable planting activity last month, we talked to Laila, Dar Taliba training facilitator and permaculture expert from our partner Radiant Design, about her work with the Dar Taliba students. “Through our activities in the garden, I really hope the girls gain a better understanding of how nature works and how we can take better care of it by using practices and techniques that support nature instead of harming it”, she says.
An Amazigh woman herself, with a similar rural background to most of the Dar Taliba students, Laila has been working with the girls since the very beginning of our school garden training programme, which began three years ago. Together with Laila, Dar Taliba gardener Al Housseine also participates in trainings with the girls to give them a helping hand and to demonstrate specific gardening techniques when needed. “I think it’s a great practice for the students to work together in the garden, it encourages their education and most of all they learn many things from each other.”
In December, the girls prepared numerous trays in which they planted vegetable seeds, which are now growing strong in the greenhouse until they’re ready to be planted in the garden in the coming spring. If the weather conditions remain good for planting, the girls will be harvesting kilos of healthy fresh vegetables very soon, transforming them into delicious school meals. “My favourite moment in the garden is when we are harvesting vegetables and students start eating them directly from the garden.” says Laila, “I think growing their own food is a very exciting and rewarding experience.”
Although the snow capped mountains of the High Atlas look beautiful, the Dar Taliba team and students are impatient for the start of spring. “It’s my favourite time of year” says Al Housseine. “We see the garden bloom and watch the fruit trees come alive again”.
This spring, we have lots of other exciting activities planned with the Dar Taliba students, and we can’t wait to share more. Until then, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more updates about upcoming activities and progress made in the Dar Taliba school garden.