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The importance of volunteers to the Vetiver System

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Environmental Volunteer, Laurel Sellers, introduces the Vetiver System in rural Morocco …….

Many Vetiver System initiatives are due to young volunteers who are working all over the world and have learned about Vetiver from TVNI website and other sources, and who are intrigued enough to include VS into their work program and training.  In this column TVNI recognizes one such volunteer – Laurel Sellers.

After testing vetiver growth in a mountain village above Taza, Morocco, I found that my small nursery had flourished and with it had garnered some attention.  I wanted to show people that this plant could be an alternative stabilization option against the strong forces of erosion in this valley village of subsistence farmers.   In the process I became fascinated with the many other applications of the plant.  It became a hobby of mine to try to weave, condense oil, make rope, try ideas from locals, anything really with this dynamic new material.

While on the website I ran across some information and out of personal intrigue I wanted to see if I could make vetiver oil; then I thought about what I would do with it if I could.  The result is pictured here:  vetiver oil scented beeswax candles.  While experimenting in my kitchen, I have found with a pressure cooker and some other basic materials you can condense small amounts of oil.  Later, while using a double boiler I melted the locally obtained beeswax, strained it through some cheesecloth, and added the vetiver oil.  I decorated a jar that I had lying around and was quite pleased with how it turned out.

Displaying my craft and talking to others has engendered more interest in the plant and how it can be combined with existing revenue streams. Its success lies within how easy the value added material is to come by and that they have participated in the plants growth since its inception in the village”.


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