“Before working in the co-operative I wanted to work but was unable to found anything suitable. I am so happy to have found this community and it has meant I’ve been able to put my son Vihaan into a good school”
Craft: Pure and Organic Argan Oil
Materials Used: Only one ingredient: Argania Spinosa (argan) kernel Oil
Background: Our Argan Oil has been ethically sourced from a female co-operative in Morocco that has been set up and running since 2004. Argan oil, with its high essential fatty acid, vitamin e and vitamin d properties, has long been used by the Moroccan people as a way to treat dry skin, acne, wrinkles and joints pain. Over the past few years, however, these health benefits have been recognised on a more global scale resulting in an Argan boom that has been a great source of employment and empowerment for Moroccan women. In a largely male dominated society, the emergence of female artisan co-operatives has allowed the women to gain respect and independence as they gain regular employment, take charge of the budgeting (profits and costs are communally shared) as well as setting up and negotiating their own prices. Through the co-operatives the women, many of whom have received little to no formal education, also gain access to rudimentary education and literary classes The profits from this work is often used to help people their children through schooling.
Goats feeding on the Argan Tree
Technique: Argan oil originates from the seed of the Argan tree, native to the Souss-Massa-Drâa region of Morocco and Algeria. Every nut contains one to three oil-rich argan kernels. The process from collection to extraction is drawn out and very manual:
- The nuts are handpicked directly from the Argan tree after they fall in the late July to October. A preferable alternative, however, is to allow the goats to process the nuts first to soften the husk before unpicking them. The Argan fruits are dried in the open air for a while to help remove the fleshy pulp.
- The seeds are then grinded by hand to remove the outer flesh and crack the inner shell to produce the oil. A litre of argan oil takes around 10 hours to produce from 30kg of kernels
- The Argan kernels are then cold pressed to expel pure, unfiltered argan oil
Interesting Fact: The tree is so beneficial to the environment that Morocco’s argan forest was declared a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco in 1998
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