Our Visit to the Argan Oil Cooperative

Our Visit to the Argan Oil Cooperative

Badger co-owner, Rebecca, with members of the women’s cooperative in Tiznit, Morocco.
These women help to produce the argan oil that Badger uses

In January of 2017, my husband, Chris, and I travelled to Morocco to visit the source of our Argan oil. This oil is so precious and unique that many call it Moroccan gold. Badger uses Argan oil because of its unique properties as a small molecule therapeutic oil that is prized for delicate skin and hair care. The Argan tree is endemic to Morocco, which means that it is only found in this country and nowhere else in the world.

Traditionally, Argan has been harvested and processed by the region’s indigenous village women. The craft of making the oil is passed down from mothers to daughters and is a pillar of their culture, community and economy. Until recently, women only had the opportunity to sell their Argan oil in the local marketplace, and would receive a small fraction of the profits. Now, through forming a cooperative, the women have access to a far greater market and have been able to use their traditional knowledge to improve the welfare of their families.

During harvest time, the women wait until the Argan fruit ripens and drops to the ground. The dried fruit is then hand harvested in baskets and carried by donkey into the village. Each individual dried fruit is cracked open by hand to remove the outer flesh, and the inner nut is then cracked open to release two delicate seeds. No machinery has been developed to expedite this process. The final steps in processing the oil can either be done by hand or by an expeller press. During our visit, we watched as the women deftly hand ground roasted seeds and then knead the resulting paste with water to separate the seed meat from the oil.

Argan is among the most expensive oils on the market, due to the immense manual labor needed in processing. We learned that one liter of oil contains 40 kilos of dried fruit, which would come from the full harvest of 5-6 Argan trees. The process from harvest to finished oil for one liter requires two days of work from over a dozen women.

Traveling here not only helped us to understand how special our Argan oil is, but also gave us a glimpse into the warmth and love that goes into the Argan processing. The music and the laughter gives our Argan oil a life force beyond the plant itself, and it is that life force that truly makes this oil Moroccan gold.

– Rebecca & Chris

For the Badger Family

Badger Rebecca and camel in Morocco, where Badger's argan oil comes from

Rebecca Hamilton

Rebecca Hamilton is a family owner and the VP of Innovation and Social Impact at Badger. She oversees new product innovation from concept to market as well as Badger's sustainability initiatives. Rebecca has nearly a decade of experience in the natural products industry and has served as an industry expert and public presenter at over 30 conferences and events. Her background in economic botany and supply chain management coupled with her passions for organic living, safe products, and ethical commerce have led her to wider industry involvement and public service outreach. Rebecca has served as an active stakeholder in the Fair Trade USA consultative group and is a passionate supporter of the Fair Trade movement. She is currently involved in safe cosmetics and Benefit Corporation legislation, has served as the chair of the Natural Products Association Natural Seal Steering Committee, is a member of the NSF Joint Committee on Natural Personal Care and the Safer Chemicals Coalition, and is on the advisory board for the Protect Our Breasts project.

Rebecca's Favorite Badger Products: Cocoa Butter Lip Balms, Cuticle Care, & Rose Geranium Face & Body Soap.

4 comments on “Our Visit to the Argan Oil Cooperative

  • Robyn Engelman says:

    This is amazing! Thank you for sharing! I traveled to Morocco when I was fifteen as part of a school trip but we did not learn anything about Argan oil. I wish we had! I had no idea that the the procurement of this oil was steeped in so much heritage and tradition. Wonderful to know! I recently purchased my first bottle of Badger’s Argan Face Oil and I immediately fell in love with it’s silky texture and lovely scent!

    Reply
  • Wow! It’s really great to see that you went out there and met the ladies that work to create the oil that you use. Says a lot about you and your company. Well done!

    Reply

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