SEKEM: Making the biodynamic vision a reality

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There is a lot of talk these days about the power of vision. 50 years ago, Dr Ibrahim Abolish, a pharmacist and social entrepreneur, decided to create a living biodynamic oasis in the dessert near Cairo in Egypt. One that would support healthy crops but also a vibrant community built on sound social and ethical principles and cultural and community values, and that was nourished from its own ‘eco-system’ of sustainable businesses. How crazy is that?

Dr Ibrahim Abouleish named his enterprise SEKEM which means “vitality from the sun”, and began by planting trees, herbs and flowers. He nurtured them and his vision began to take root, attracting like-minded pioneers and investment capital. Today, SEKEM’s own biodynamic oasis, stretches over 650 hectares, producing biodynamic cotton, herbs, fruit and vegetables, plus twice that amount being farmed biodynamically by their contracted farmers. In a country like Egypt which is over 90% dessert, and where water is a scarcity, it’s nothing short of a miracle.

The vision doesn’t stop there. SEKEM has its own textile, food processing, healthcare, and natural pharma companies, a network of partner supplier farms, and a strong export business. It employs around 2000 people, and its turnover is over 40M Euros pa. Thanks to SEKEM, too, Egypt now has over 800 biodynamic farmers.

All its businesses are founded on what SEKEM describes as the “economics of love”. It’s about ethics, sustainability, fair trade, and enabling individuals and communities to reach their potential. Profits are used to enable the people it supports, the land that feeds it, and the surrounding communities thrive: kindergarten and schools for the children, a medical centre, a vocational training centre, and, most recently, a research university for biodynamic farming, and the first organic shop, ‘Organic & More’, in Cairo. You can even stay in their guest house (it’s not too far from the pyramids) and experience the SEKEM Good Life first hand.

And if sheer inspiration isn’t enough, because of SEKEM’s success in pioneering biological controls to grow its biodynamic cotton, 95% of Egypt’s cotton is now grown organically, saving the aerial spraying of 35, 000 tons of chemicals every year. Think what a difference that must have made to thousands of cotton workers!

Discover more….
Check out this biodynamic wonder of the world here:
http://sekem.com/index.html

Check out their biodynamic cotton here: http://farmhub.textileexchange.org/upload/library/Case%20studies/SEKEM%20Case%20Study.pdf

Check out their biodynamic herbal teas: http://spiraledge.wpengine.com/eat-right-traditional-wisdom-to-sustain-us-today/

Thinking of visiting & experience the good life first hand? http://www.sekem.com/stay-at-sekem.html