food forest in Morocco


Atlas Mountains forest


High up in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco is a still productive food forest with origins over 2,000 years old. Resembling a true mythical oasis, the forest is an example of one of the world’s oldest sustainable systems of agriculture whose origins have been lost to history.

Up until relatively recently the 65 acres of food forest was managed by 800 local families to produce an abundance of yield, including banana, tamarind, citrus, fig, guava, pomegranate, mulberry, carob, quince, grapes, olive, argan as well as crops such as wheat, corn, pulses and beans.

The High Atlas Mountains in Morocoo

Being a forest the oasis has a key overstory of date palms providing shade, a cooling microclimate and deep tap roots for water lifting.

Over the centuries villagers would have gradually observed and mimicked natural relationships and planted certain species closer to others. Through trial and error the right combinations and layering would have naturally evolved and become pretty much self-sustaining as the productive forest still is today.

Photo by Abdellah Aziz

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