We have fresh news from the School of gardening Bouregreg Med-O-Med. Fresh and humid, as rain hasn’t stopped falling all Autumn and Winter, for the benefit of green spaces and ecosystems. The School of gardening of Salé, Morocco, is a professional training project with social and environmental goals, developed by the Islamic Culture Foundation in collaboration with the Agence d’Aménagement de la Vallée du Bouregreg (AAVB).
Given the delay created by the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, the registration of new trainees for the Professional Training academic year didn’t begin until the end of 2020, and their courses have only begun on early February 2021. So, for the first time, we have around 90 students in the three courses that make up this Gardening degree: Professional Training, Specialization, and Qualification, the latest academic year. Thus, in summer we will have the School’s first promotion, which, in itself, it’s already good news. As the students themselves say, the “Med-O-Med family” is complete!
In a small ceremony, among the School’s friends and collaborators, we handed the diplomas to first and second year students on January 29th.
The remedial classes for the students whose course was suspended last year during lockdown have been taken place these months. Intensely, but gradually, with social distancing and in shifts. The “corona” makes it mandatory.
In a small ceremony, among the School’s friends and collaborators, we handed the diplomas to first and second year students on January 29th. Organized outdoors, the event was filled with joy and laughter, something important in this turbulent times.
The beginning of 2021 has also brought several new educators and a specialized gardener. All of them from Morocco: the young educators are Safa Elalloui and Jihane E. Kadiri. The gardener is Moahmmed El Kaabi. A good contribution for the School, through which we have also achieved gender equality: three women and three men educators. Three Moroccan educators and three Spanish trainers in charge of preparing them.
Last December we received an important visit from the renowned Minister of National Education and Professional Training, Mr. Said Amzazi. His visit allowed us to continue the adaptation of this training degree, based on the Spanish experience, to the Moroccan education, reducing the course to three years.
We have achieved gender equality: three women and three men educators. Three Moroccan educators and three Spanish trainers in charge of preparing them.
A second relevant news, given that, as the School’s team usually says, many things happen in a day, has been the launching of a greenhouse structure for vegetable production. Neither rain (sometimes intense) and Covid-19 have not prevented its progress, and, thankfully, the virus has not had any impact in our School. The fact that our fieldwork, and even the theoretical lessons and working meeting, is carried out outdoors (the School’s premises extend for 8 hectares) eases our work and gives us some freedom.
A year ago we planted the park and garden, which counted with the participation of the School’s trainees, and the vegetation is at its peak. The excellent landscape project, designed by Mikel García de Eulate and the study SOIL, arquitectura del paisaje, has been selected for the Barcelona International Biennial of Landscape, Barcelona. Another great news for the project’s recognition.
Previously, on January 2019, the architectural design developed by the study MYAA was finalist in a second international festival, in the category of educative projects: the Word Architecture Festival.
We are also glad to announce that we have opened the restaurant Azafrán, which doesn’t only mean more visits and activity for the School, but it is also a source of economic profit.
We are also glad to announce that we have opened the restaurant Azafrán, which doesn’t only mean more visits and activity for the School, but it is also a source of economic profit. Azafrán is an excellent space with its big terrace with views to the park, good Mediterranean food, with some traditional Moroccan dishes, and an open space to meet in a safe and placid way. The playground for children, and the tables for their age, provide a festive and family environment during the weekends. Family friendly.
The store, another of the School’s public attractions, has also opened. The boutique “Végétal Concept” holds a curve and bright space, in accordance with the building’s natural and contemporary esthetics. The store sells flowers and bouquets designed by “Végétal Concept”, as well as handmade products, flowerpots and cosmetic products and bio and quality cosmetics. The boutique will also sell the plants produced by the School.
The excellent landscape project, designed by Mikel García de Eulate and the study SOIL, arquitectura del paisaje, has been selected for the Barcelona International Biennial of Landscape, Barcelona.
But, going back to our trainees, which are the backbone of the project, we will add that they have complemented their usual work on the maintenance of the School’s green spaces (pruning, mowing, cutting of weeds, fertilization, detection of pests, etc., everything from an ecological perspective) with external practices, mainly pruning. Third year students have also begun their training in production and other specializations: floristry, for instance, is led by expert trainer Christelle Meslin.
We have also begun timidly developing public activities (the times don’t allow for anything else): gardening initiation workshops and a small Christmas market, which grant the School some visits and income.
In addition, we continue to make progresses in the signing of collaboration agreements with Moroccan and international institutions, as well as associations. In this sense, in addition to our usual partners, we have gained wide support at the Diplomatic Center of Rabat, who has financially helped the most underprivileged families during this pandemic crisis, and the Cooperation department of the French Embassy in Morocco, who teaches French lessons regularly, a basic language for labor insertion.
In addition, we continue to make progresses in the signing of collaboration agreements with Moroccan and international institutions, as well as associations.
And so, gradually, with the difficulties and good news that all projects of this size entail, we continue to advance towards our main goal: the training of young generations in a field as beautiful and forgotten as gardening is, so they can enter the labor market decently and successfully.
We carry on!
Lastly, we want to thank all the institutions that support us and have made this project possible: AAVB, INDH (National Initiative for Human Development), the Moroccan Ministry of National Education and Professional Training, the Regional Council of Rabat, Salé, Kenitra, AECID (Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation), Drosos Foundation, the Cooperation department of the Embassy of France in Morocco, Alsa, University of Secille, and the International University of Rabat.
We also thank our friends and collaborators, who help us on a daily basis through their volunteering job: Aurora Puche and Wafaa El Alami.
Text and photographs by Inés Eléxpuru – FUNCI
Translation: Alfonso Casani – FUNCI