ESDU is an inter-disciplinary research and development center specialized in community development and sustainable agriculture hosted at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (FAFS) of the American University of Beirut (AUB). ESDU was the incubator of the Food Heritage Foundation and is currently its mentor institution and one of its main partners.
In the framework of the rural tourism value chain, USAID is funding the establishment of a food trail in Higher Shouf and West Bekaa, a project implemented by the Food Heritage Foundation in partnership with ESDU and SCBR. The project aims at diversifying livelihoods of small farmers and food producers through the introduction of food tourism in rural areas.
The Food Heritage Foundation was one of the winners of NABAD, the first social entrepreneurship incubator in the Middle East, for its central community kitchen Akleh.The fund enabled FHF to rehabilitate and equip the kitchen which is located in Zico House – Spears and initiate catering services for traditional foods.
The Food Heritage Foundation in partnership with ESDU and IOCC are working on establishing community kitchens in lebanese villages hosting syrian refugees, such as Miniara – Akkar and Khiara – West Bekaa, with the aim of alleviating food insecurity of vulnerable populations.
Through the CSR program “Waterfront City Cares”, FHF’s first project, Souk aal Souk farmers’ market, came to life. In collaboration with ESDU, the project aims to empower small farmers and producers, train them on good agricultural practices and create a market for them in urban settings.
The Shouf Cedar Biosphere Reserve (SCBR) is one of the main partners in the establishment of the food trail in Higher Shouf and West Bekaa. With many years of experience in eco-tourism and rural development, SCBR brings its expertise into the project.
In line with FHF’s vision, Majid Al Futtaim Group is supporting the central community kitchen of the foundation “Akleh” with the ultimate aim to empower women and small local producers from various Lebanese areas. This partnership was initiated in December 2014 in an effort to sustain and develop Akleh’s activities revolving around the production, marketing and catering of traditional food prepared by women from different Lebanese areas while using raw ingredients from small local producers.