22 May 2018
El Jadida, Morocco
Sustainable Tourism

Just south of bustling Casablanca, Morocco’s El Jadida Province has a new diamond to lure eco-conscious tourists: Riad Green House, the sustainable farming and accommodation project of Hamid Ben M’Barek Riad. The local entrepreneur believes in uniting tourists, locals, and farmers with a common aim: to respect the environment and think more about humankind’s relationship with nature. Guests can relax in a natural paradise, learn more about organic farming, and provide vital support for the local economy.

Shrubs and bushes separate the narrow lanes; in the distance, a house is surrounded by wooden bungalows and a bioclimatic chalet. A large greenhouse harbors plantations, a group disappears inside to look at the seeds growing. Then there is a magnificent forest surrounded by green spaces. Imagine a place that respects humans, visitors, locals, the environment, the region and its biodiversity. This place can be found in the Oulja Chtouka region in the province of El Jadida, near Casablanca.

It is “Camping farm – Riad Green House,” specially designed by Riad to invite tourists to “holiday responsibly”. Riad is an engineer and an expert in energy and sustainable development. Through his project, he hopes to promote organic farming and raise awareness of the environment, agro-ecology, and sustainable tourism.

Riad Green House’s central idea is bringing together tourists, locals and farmers within the same approach, making them more respectful of the environment. He also wants to provide a model example for small farmers, demonstrating the benefits of eco-tourism, green accommodation, organic farming, and respecting natural resources. Riad also supports education and learning about ecology, work placements in farming, and the circular economy.

Riad is being supported via the SwitchMed programme throughout the launch of his activities. His ideas, his desires and his motivation are gradually coming to life and developing into a real business. With SwitchMed, Riad is navigating an incubation phase and putting together his green business plan, which involves analyzing the market and assessing risk. According to Riad, he has carried out “very accurate simulations to minimize the risk of debt [wirth Riad Green House].”

Based on an eco-construction, Riad has used the European Ecolabel as a reference for tourist accommodation and applied the “green” approach used in Morocco. This philosophy uses timber and local resources as building materials, whilst also  using renewable energy sources wherever possible.

Riad Green House also contemplates the construction of bioclimatic greenhouses and various seed plantations. Cultivating land at the accommodation site has numerous benefits: it raises awareness amongst tourists about organi farming, supports the local economy, and offers a sense of being one with nature.

Separately, Riad plans to forge links between artisans and tourists. Riad Green House will feature a small daily artisans’ market, and Riad himself will spread his message of sustainability by traveling throughout the region in a green van. This outreach will spread the philosophy of producing rather than just consuming – be that fruit, vegetables, or an accommodation service.

Crucially, Riad Green House offers a brighter future for surrounding communities. Riad plans to employ a dozen local people, and the project will indirectly employ other locals via the artisans’ market. Riad Green House is a truly open door for nature lovers who want to rethink the way they travel, consume and produce.

 

The article was originally published on the SwitchMed website.

Camping farm – Riad Green House Sustainable Tourism
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