The Moroccan biodiversity and livelihoods association is a Marrakech-based NGO that was founded in 2014 by Moroccan-Amazigh environmentalists to support local communities in carrying out conservation initiatives in the High Atlas Mountains. In its mission to restore ecological balance, document traditional conservation practices, and support agriculture-based rural economies, MBLA places a strong emphasis on the inclusion of local communities of various backgrounds and ages.
“The cultivation of rural prosperity is core to our vision of a world where people and nature thrive in harmony, and so we recognize that rural livelihoods and ecosystem protection are inextricably intertwined. Our efforts have long included smallholder farmers, forest communities, agricultural cooperatives and end customers. In 2021, we pledged to take further actions down this road to help the local communities that have been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
On World Biodiversity Day 22 May 2021, MBLA launched the first edition of the High Atlas Food Market, to promote biodiversity-friendly local products in Marrakech, which has since become a recurring event during the Harvest Festival.
The High Atlas Market is a celebration of the deep connection between humans and nature. It was created to support the livelihoods of rural communities by bringing together local small producers, cooperatives, and urban consumers to sell local products, hold food tastings, and hold discussion groups to raise awareness about eating locally and healthily.
During the upcoming editions of the Harvest festival, MBLA will continue to partake in the call for a discussion about the importance of conscious food choices for good health, as well as the celebration of culture, gastronomy, rural entrepreneurs and biodiversity-friendly food habits. MBLA wishes to remind people of the journey their food takes to reach their table, and the ancient cultural practices that are involved in its cultivation, harvest and preservation, which sets the High Atlas cuisine apart from the rest.