About

Harvest Festival Marrakech draws on the tradition, present in many parts of the world, of holding an annual celebration around the time of the main harvest, which varies from place to place. Harvest festivals celebrate abundance and liberty in the broadest sense. Beyond the historical bounty of food and seasonal break from agricultural work, they have evolved to embrace a sense of community and a recognition of diversity. Harvest Festival emphasises the “local”: agroecology, biodiversity, culture and gastronomy performed and produced in the Marrakech-Safi region and beyond. As a collective endeavour, its success depends on a coordinated but autonomous effort of many community members and partners.

Autumn edition

The time period selected for the Autumn edition of Harvest Festival Marrakech, from Friday 15 – Sunday 31 October, includes not only World Food Day (Saturday 16 October) but also three weekends, each one dedicated to a different theme: agroecology and gastronomy, with markets of culinary products (Friday 15 – Sunday 17 October); cultural diversity, featuring a film festival, crafts market and various art openings (Friday 22 – Sunday 24 October) and a closing celebration on the final weekend (Friday 29 – Sunday 31), which coincides with Halloween. Throughout this period, participating chefs will feature special dishes on their menus that showcase local products.

Cosmopolitan

Deeply cosmopolitan, Harvest Festival Marrakech incorporates people from many different countries who reside in Morocco and feature plants from all over the world that are cultivated locally and used in diverse cuisines. It connects the rural and the urban, bringing local products from High Atlas cooperatives to Marrakech as well as organising workshops for mountain communities. It is inclusive, with events designed for different audiences representing diverse age groups and backgrounds. It is bohemian, inspired by the nonconventional lives of people – artists, chefs, craftspeople, creatives, farmers, musicians, writers and others – who live in communities of Marrakech and its hinterland that are currently only loosely interconnected.

Dynamic

Remember that Harvest Festival Marrakech is a dynamic experience: new community members, events and partners will be revealed throughout the sixteen days, from 15 – 31 October, on our social media and website. Participants in events are invited to join as Harvest Festival Marrakech members and share their profile on our community page.  Pop-up restaurants, tastings and workshops will be repeated by popular demand. Participation and interaction will generate new ideas for events and happenings that can be organised spontaneously. Stay tuned to @harvestmarrakech on Facebook and @harvest_marrakech on Instagram to ensure you are fully informed, day-by-day.

Location

Harvest Festival Marrakech is a multi-sited event: it happens in art galleries, hotels, restaurants, retail stores and other spaces. This makes the Festival COVID resilient as there will be no more than 50 people at a time in any one place. The headquarters is the Palm Orchids Nursery, where there is a well-aerated café for pop-up restaurants, an open school for roundtables and marketplaces, open areas for small outdoor parties and plants galore. Please consult the map on this website for specific information: you will find partners across Marrakech, with differently coloured icons for Activities, Art & Culture, Gastronomy and Shopping.

Objectives

Harvest Festival promotes the exchange of goods and services between people who share a commitment to producing and consuming sustainable cosmetic, craft and culinary products.  It seeks to connect the rural cultural landscapes and urban areas, sustaining livelihoods while contributing to healthy lifestyles. Harvest Festival is also a platform for exploring the challenges and opportunities of transitioning to a more equitable, just and regenerative world by taking action locally. It consolidates and strengthens a community who are building a nascent green economy that promotes low carbon outputs, resource efficiency and social inclusiveness.

Opportunities

Harvest Festival is motivating a collective of partners from diverse sectors to pursue their efforts to (1) inform the general public about biodiversity-friendly local products that support community livelihoods; (2) support institutional efforts to establish certification and labelling of unique regional products that support local livelihoods; (3) develop an online marketplace to promote goods and services derived from biological resources that are equitably traded, safe and sustainably harvested;  (4) assist associations and cooperatives to directly trade their cosmetic, craft and culinary products, benefitting producers and consumers alike;  (5) design agricultural, culinary and ecological tourism circuits that encourage small group visits, allow communities to represent their own biocultural diversity, and deliver direct benefits to people who are stewards of regenerative agriculture, ecology and economy; and (6) launch apprenticeship and educational opportunities to build awareness and skills for beekeeping, organic agriculture, product development, marketing and other elements of a vibrant regional economy.

Organisers

A collective of enthusiastic and concerned individuals gathered to create Harvest Festival. You can discover them on our community page and read about the role they are playing in transitioning to a more equitable, just and regenerative world by taking action locally. Global Diversity Foundation, an international non-profit organisation, developed the Harvest Festival concept, and worked with Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihoods Organisation, a Moroccan NGO, and many other partners to develop specific elements of the inaugural Autumn 2021 edition of Harvest Festival Marrakech.

Shopping

One of the goals of Harvest Festival is to promote the purchase and use of local cosmetic, craft and culinary products, along with other goods and services, that sustain livelihoods while contributing to healthy lifestyles. You will be able to find these products on sale at several of our partners’ venues, including three official Harvest Festival points of sale: (1) Jnane Tamsna’s EthnoBotanica Café and Shop, open Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm; (2) Palm Orchids Nursery, Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm; and (3) Terre d’Eveil Holistic Wellness Center, Thursday to Saturday from from 10 am to 6 pm. A full line of products is also available at La Fromagerie des Chefs and other partner retail stores. If you prefer to buy directly from rural cooperatives and other local producers, don’t forget the High Atlas Food Market on Saturday 16 October from 10 am to 5 pm at Terre d’Eveil and the Souk Fermier at Majorelle Garden every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm.

Sponsors

Harvest Festival Marrakech is organised without financial sponsorship or ownership by any entity or individual. Every community member, event and partner are self-supporting, and each is responsible for designing its own participation in the celebration. The success of Harvest Festival depends on dozens of establishments and volunteers that provide in-kind support. Two institutions provided seed funding to cover the core costs of communicating, designing and organizing Harvest Festival and especially its inaugural Autumn 2021 edition:  the Darwin Initiative, a UK government grants scheme that helps to protect biodiversity and the natural environment through locally based projects worldwide, and the Swiss-based MAVA Foundation, which supports conservation to benefit people and nature.

Timing

Harvest Festival – with its focus on agroecology, biodiversity, culture, gastronomy and landscapes – is continuous. It has its origins in the emergence of culture hundreds of thousands of years ago, and the birth of agriculture more than ten thousand years ago. It will continue as long as people cultivate their minds and the land. Harvest Festival Marrakech has delimited editions: Autumn, from 15 – 31 October, is centred around World Food Day (16 October); Spring, from 15 – 31 May, is around the International Day for Biological Diversity (22 May); and Yennayer, 12 – 14 January, celebrates the first day of the Amazigh agricultural calendar.

Harvest Festival – Marrakech

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