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HAND IN HAND – Sekem / Egypt


Sekem was founded in 1977 by Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish (1937-2017). Implementing biodynamic agriculture, Abouleish succeeded in making the Egyptian desert fertile. Today, almost 2,000 people produce and process a variety of high-quality products in Lotus/Sekem, for example the Rapunzel Demeter sesame. Other products produced by Lotus are organic cotton, medicinal herbs, tea, fruits and vegetables.

In 2003, Sekem was awarded the Alternative Nobel Price

Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish died in June 2017. Sekem continues to be run by his family. 
 

Cultivation, processing and export in the hands of peasants


Sekem farmers on the sesame field
Sekem farmers on the sesame field

One of the oldest oil plants


Since the year 2000 Rapunzel has been working with Lotus/Sekem. Today, Rapunzel gets all of Demeter-quality sesame from Lotus/Sekem. The farms of the Lotus farmers are located in the area around the Fayoum Oasis (100 km south of Cairo) and further south on the fertile banks of the Nile River.

Sesame is only grown in summer. In the winter, the farmers cultivate medicinal herbs for Sekem. This crop rotation not only secures the farmers´ income but also enables soil recovery.
Meeting of all Sekem employees before the weekend
Meeting of all Sekem employees before the weekend

Special cultivation


Biodynamic cultivation of sesame at Lotus is special because the farmers use traditional farming methods. Egyptian Demeter farmers cultivate sesame varieties that are traditionally grown in Egypt – but without using synthetical fertilizers and pesticides. Organic cultivation protects the soil and and the environment are preserved as well as the health of the farmers and their families.

Farmers have good yields since they use compost that improves the soil fertility. The use of synthetical fertilizers in conventional cultivation leaches the nutrients from the ground and results in oversalted soil. 
Pupils of the sekem school
Pupils of the sekem school

A strong network


SEKEM –  means “LIVE-GIVING SUN” (translated from ancient Egyptian). Today, the biodynamic agricultural activities of Lotus/Sekem are not only restricted to the original farm or the different companies and social institutions. They extend to 200 additional organic farms with a total acreage of 2,000 hectares. Lotus/Sekem markets the organic products from all these farms in Egypt and abroad.

The intention of Sekem is to provide “practical development aid” (supporting people to help themselves) to the Egyptian population. In Egypt, many people live below the poverty line. Sekem did not only focus on the production and marketing of agricultural products, but also on the improvement of social conditions. To this end, Sekem has founded kindergartens, schools, vocational training centers, a health care center and even an Academy of Applied Arts and Science.

Recipes with HAND IN HAND sesame or gomasio


Sesame bars with coconut and peanuts
Sesame bars with coconut and peanuts
gluten-free almond flour bread
gluten-free almond flour bread
Tahini Cookies with Sesame Seeds
Tahini Cookies with Sesame Seeds
Asian Buckwheat Spaghetti-Salad with Sesame Dressing
Asian Buckwheat Spaghetti-Salad with Sesame Dressing
HAND IN HAND

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