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Don’t Sit Under The Argan Tree

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Goats In A Tree

These goats live in a small region in southwestern Morocco where the Argan tree grows. Although the region is semi-arid desert and there’s fodder elsewhere, they love argan berries. They’re goat candy. Since the goats can’t reach them from the ground, they learned to climb Argan trees.

But that’s not the weird part.

When the goats poop, local women pick out the hard undigested nuts, crack them, extract the seeds, mash and grind them up, and produce argan oil – all by hand. It gets stranger: only women are allowed to do it.

Women […] run the entire industry, which is an incredible fact considering that Morocco is a rather patriarchal society. Only women are taught to make argan oil, and they are the sole gatekeepers to the centuries-old method. Much of the country’s oil is made in cooperatives that allow women the opportunity to work and make money independently [via].

Then they rub it on their faces, put it in their hair or eat it. TRUE.

But take this story a step further, and it becomes downright astounding. One sunny day, hundreds of years ago, some Berber women figured it out:

“Hey, Fatima! Bouchra! I found some goat crap under a tree. I bet there’s something in it that we can eat AND wear. Whaddya think? Don’t tell the guys.”

And the rest is history. But wait. There’s more:

The Berbers were the same people that produced Berber carpets, and had a hand in producing purple dye from seashells – the color of Roman Royalty. It’s also interesting to note that a large percentage of Berbers were Jews, Christians and Animists before those sects were marginalized by Islam in the 7th Century. The Barbary pirates were Islamic Berbers, thrived in the world-wide slave trade, and the word “barbarian” has etymological roots to the Berbers as well.

Goats-trees-berries-poop-cosmetics-food-Morocco-Berbers-carpet-purple-Islam-pirates-slavery-barbarians. What a connection, and it all began with Goats In Trees.

Fun Facts To Know And Tell.

[Image found here. Somewhat related post here.]

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3 Responses to “Don’t Sit Under The Argan Tree”

  1. Dale Weeks Says:

    I’m reminded of that show (long gone, I’m afraid) “Connections”

  2. LC Aggie Sith Says:

    And to think I use fair trade argan oil for my hair… 😀

  3. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Dale–
    James Burke’s Part 3 of Episode 1 of his excellent Connections series is a must see. Be patient until 4:30- that’s where the meat is.

    LC– I’ll never call you a poopyhead.

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