For centuries, the Berber Women of Morocco have curated the fruit of the argan Tree, stripped away its flesh and extracted the kernels to produce the purest cold pressed Moroccan argan oil.
Whilst nowadays much of the oil is extracted by compression machines provided by the co-operatives instigated to oversee the Berber women's interests, many Berber women carry on grinding in the traditional way, by hand, in their homes and boutiques of Morocco.
The female-based co-operatives of Morocco do far more than protect the interests of the Berber women themselves, as well as providing presses that ensure every last, precious drop of the 'world's most sought after cosmetic oil' is garnered.
They have helped designate the forests of argan trees biospheres and given the Berber women who farm argan fruit means to carry on the traditional method of preparing the kernel passed down through the ages.
By providing press machines for the essential extraction of oil, this helps both to keep out impurities from the process and also meet with the increasing global demand of 100% cold pressed organic argan oil.
Praise for the Berber women co-operatives
Much has been made of the co-operative movement in Morocco. Where others have failed, the model that governs the Berber women goes from strength to strength.
However, the co-operatives that are in place, providing both biospheres to protect the ancient argania spinosa tree and education, welfare and livable wages for its members, can only do so much.
UNESCO has also become involved, such is the fear of over-farming to meet with global demand for the multi-purpose hair and skin care treatment.
In order to protect the vast lands where the argan forests have survived since the tertiary area, remaining endemic to their natural desert and semi-desert habitats of Africa, in one such biosphere covering over two and a half million hectares (including the Souss-Massa National Park), argan trees have been singled out as a "main conservation interest."
Responsibly-sourced cold pressed argan oil
As responsible suppliers of argan oil, Poppy Austin has partnered with certain co-operatives to ensure that a percentage of every bottle we sell goes back into the supply chain to ensure continuity of supply.
The co-operatives are doing what they can, UNESCO is adding weight and so are responsible suppliers like Poppy Austin who have sought and gained recognition for the way they procure and handle argan oil; but there's still much more to be done.
For the Berber women and their families who have moved into the biospheres to harness one of nature's oldest, purest healing oils, we are proud to support the co-operatives in any way we can.
We hope that you too feel the same great sense of worth and achievement every time you buy responsibly-sourced argan oil, ensuring continuity of supply for both the Berber women and every day people all around the world who can look their best for years to come, thanks to the Berber women's considerable hard work.