Fertile Roots finds a way through the rock.

Our first Permaculture Design Certificate course, taught by Darren Doherty of Regrarians, surpassed all our expectations here at Fertile Roots HQ. A wonderful mix of personalities – thirty four students in all, from as far afield as the US and Costa Rica – Darren’s superb teaching and two weeks of glorious weather made this an event nobody will forget easily.

Making a no-dig garden

Making a no-dig garden

We were particularly pleased to have a third of the seats taken up by Moroccan nationals as we had always felt this to be vital in helping enthuse the local farmers with the spirit and possibilities of permaculture. In the event, local participation was initially disappointing, however, three farmers did gain their certificates and many more came in to listen now and then. That’s a good start and word will inevitably spread.

Our local PDC graduates

Our local PDC graduates

The real result however, is that two of our graduates, Si Mohamed and Abdullah, are keen to start regenerating their land as soon as possible and have chosen adjoining fields down near the beach as the first experiment. This is the perfect place for a demonstration site, because it’s the least productive land and also the most public. The pressure is now on to make permaculture work there, in little more than sand, just yards from the Atlantic surf and fully exposed to the relentless north wind. If we can achieve a result on that spot, in full view of everybody, then all will have no choice but to sit up and take note.

Checking out what will be the first demo site

Checking out what will be the first demo site


Dinner time, presided over by Gaia at the head of the table

Darren has generously offered to continue consulting on this for free and it will be a fantastic and invaluable support to have his expertise there behind us. Regrarians have also offered to help bring in the area’s first sustainable technology in the form of a donkey-drawn ‘eco seeder’. Against all odds there’s a perrennial grass growing down there and the last thing we want to do is dig it up, as normally happens, with a plough.

Darren Doherty at the helm

Darren Doherty on stage

Another graduate of the course, Mehdi Cherkani, has offered assistance with seeds, grafting and other areas of expertise whilst another, our translator Ahmed Alami Aroussi, has also offered his services as and when needed.

An impromptu classroom

An impromptu classroom

At the source

And another: at the source, Ain l’Hajar

Taking a break from class

An occasional lapse in concentration

Armed with so much knowledge and with such support in the background, at Fertile Roots we feel a freshly strengthened sense of purpose and direction. We can also now show enough income in the Foundation’s first full year of operation to register with the UK Charities Commission and gain our ‘charity number’, which will be vital for future fund-raising efforts.  Permaculture in Morocco is growing.


Classes over for the day; off to join the evening football match

Our heartfelt thanks to Darren and Lisa Doherty and their super cool teenagers, Pearl and Zane; also to Ahmed Alami Aroussi for his professional translating and to Andrew Onreat who worked tirelessly and without reward throughout September to help us get the eco-lodge ready. And finally, thank you to all those who attended for making it such a dynamic and entertaining two weeks.


The team


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