28 Oct 2015
Mornag, Tunisia
Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Waste Management, Sustainable Food and Agriculture, Sustainable Tourism

Mornag Eco Farm is an ecological farm focused on techniques of sustainable living. Its creator, Amine Draoui, receives schools, volunteers and tourists to share his expertise and passion for nature throughout the year.

Amine Draoui, founder of the Mornag Eco Farm, wants to protect nature and preserve traditional customs at this farm near Tunis. This young entrepreneur applies alternative techniques around agriculture, sustainable construction and resource management, skills he drew from Tunisian traditions and his volunteering experiences with the WWOOF network. Since 2012, he has organised workshops, guided tours and offered guest rooms at his ecological farm – activities that also benefit the local community.

Meet Amine Draoui, founder of Mornag Eco Farm.

What is the aim of your project?

Mornag Eco Farm is an eco-friendly site where one develops alternative techniques around energy, water, construction, waste management and agriculture. We mainly receive schools, but also associations, families and tourists. Many people come here to be inspired, learn and apply these techniques back home.

How did you get the idea of creating a farm?

While I was finishing my studies, I volunteered on farms in Europe. I was able to learn many trades: how to make cheese, bread, jams etc. My goal was to return to Tunisia and creating my own farm, not only to produce fruits or vegetables, but especially to share that expertise.

A model of an environmentally responsible farm | The Switchers
A model of an environmentally responsible farm | The Switchers

Do you have a specific training?

I did a Ph.D. in water science. After teaching for a while, I left the academic world to get into building an eco- farm.

How do you manage the educational aspect of the farm?

We do not do any theory, we come to practice, work and learn. The farm is a participatory place. There are workshops throughout the year. Schools come two or three times a year, to be able to follow the different seasons. In November, we begin to make olive oil. From February to March, flowers are distilled. From May, we work on grain to make bread…

What techniques do you use on the site?

We drew on our roots using traditional techniques, especially for agriculture. We also sought already existing techniques for construction, water management and waste. For example, we have implemented dry toilets and solar water heaters for showers.

What are the ecological solutions of your project?

For constructions we only use local materials. As for waste it is composted, recycled or even resold. We always try to look for resources which are already on site. For example, we got all the stones from landfills to build our climbing tower.

A model of an environmentally responsible farm | The Switchers
A model of an environmentally responsible farm | The Switchers
A model of an environmentally responsible farm | The Switchers
A model of an environmentally responsible farm | The Switchers

Is your project replicable?

Yes, but the problem here is that people do not know these techniques. That is why we empathise training. We also plan to write a construction guide that includes all of these techniques as a written record and prevent these often traditional methods being forgotten.

There are skills and trades which are disappearing. We are trying modestly to make them last.Amine Draoui, founder of Mornag Eco Farm
A model of an environmentally responsible farm | The Switchers

Have you received grants or funding to create the project?

No nothing at all. For banks, this was not a profitable project. So we started small. Every time we earn something, it is reinvested. It took over 4 years, and it’s not done yet! I think this is a good example for young people who think they cannot do anything because they do not have any funding. It’s wrong! One can start small and grow over time.

What are the repercussions of this initiative on your community?

From the very start locals have been working with us. They deal mainly with the garden and animals. Ecotourism offers many opportunities for the local economy. Generally, people who visit the farm then make a trip to the mountains to meet shepherds, nomads etc.

How would you like to develop your project?

Our goal is to create a strong network throughout Tunisia, because each region has its special customs. The idea is that visitors can take a tour and discover the know-how and traditions of each site.

Do you feel part of a global change?

What makes me happiest in my work is sharing. We are not only here to explain the technical side of things, but also to provide hope. It’s not about telling everyone to create farms! It is about inspiring them to give the best of themselves in their profession. Give hope for a better world, it is also what gives us the strength to continue.

Mornag Eco Farm Ecological farm