In response to the catastrophic explosion on August 4, 2020 which decimated Beirut and shook the world, the Food Heritage Foundation team has set up “Food for Beirut,” a hunger relief effort in the framework of Ardi Ardak initiative to feed the city’s most vulnerable victims of the tragedy.
Food Heritage Foundation is cooking and distributing meals on a daily basis from our community kitchens Akleh in Zico House and from the kitchen of Khayrat Bekaena Coop in Khiara village in West Bekaa. For the last week we’ve been delivering up to 300 meals on a daily basis to families in need and we expect to grow our output.
To sustain our work, we rely on the help of our community. We have been receiving overwhelming support from volunteers and chefs. If you would like to volunteer your time, you can contribute with cash and in-kind donations – offering your time to help us cook, package and distribute food.
To volunteer please contact: +961 70 156 866
Donations Hotline: +961 3 234 008
Bank Transfer Details
Name of Bank: Byblos Bank
Account Name: Food Heritage Foundation
Local Transfers in LBP: IBAN LB36 0039 0000 0003 3532 2531 7001
Local Transfers in USD: IBAN LB36 0039 0000 0003 3532 2531 7003
International Transfers in USD: IBAN LB68 0039 0000 0003 3532 2531 7007
International Transfers in EUR: IBAN LB41 0039 0000 0003 3532 2531 7008
After months of confinement and social distancing, FHF team is actively back to working in the field and with communities. The team is resuming the training cycle on food processing which started in November 2019 and was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Theoretical and practical sessions are delivered to 20 families Juzurna Buzurna (JB) farm in Saadnayel, Bekaa. These workshop sessions covering different topics like food safety, innovation in mouneh, dairy processing and sun-drying, are delivered in the framework of “Rizk el Waqf” project implemented by JB with support of the German Cooperation (BMZ).
The first session of this year, was on dairy production where participants learned how to make Akkawi, Halloum and Baladi cheeses. The session was interactive as usual, and the participants enjoyed preparing different kind of cheeses made with fresh milk from Juzurna Buzurna farm.
The unfolding economic crisis during the Covid-19 lockdown is keeping the most vulnerable Lebanese communities under unbearable pressure of finding their daily sustenance. Aiming to support the local communities at the times of hardship, Mouneh parcels have been assembled under Ardi Ardak initiative, through a collaborative work between FHF, ESDU and LLWB.
The first batch of Mouneh parcels were distributed on March 30th, 2020 to 40 families in need including old people who cannot leave their homes to get their food. The parcels contained basic food items like rice, sugar, pulses, bulgur, jams and oil with some products locally procured from cooperatives and small scale producers.
This first distribution was made possible due to generous donations of people who want to make a positive change in the society particularly during the hard times the country is going through.
In light of the current socio-economic crisis, the Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU) at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (FAFS) at AUB – in partnership with the Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB), the Food Heritage Foundation and Ziko House, launched the Ardi Ardak Initiative during a workshop that was held in AUB on February 28, 2020.
Ardi Ardak works on offering small-scale producers access to knowledge, resources and marketing channels, offering urban consumers access to local healthy produce, and promoting sustainable eco-friendly agricultural practices and innovative food processing linking innovation to traditional authentic production. Ardi Ardak approach is based on community supported initiatives which provide urban consumers and the private sector the opportunity to engage in fostering the local food system and supporting small-scale rural producers. It also focuses on gender mainstreaming by helping women promote their decision-making power and offer them the potential to invest their skills in new livelihood strategies thus fostering their economic empowerment.
The workshop started with an introductory note by Dr. Shadi Hamadeh, director of ESDU, followed by a welcoming note by Dr. Rabih Mohtar Dean of FAFS. Mrs. Asma Zein, president of LLWB talked about the importance of empowering rural women, while Dr. Hania Hammoud, Executive Board Member at the National Commission for Lebanese Women (NCLW) presented the state of Land tenure and Access to Land under the Lebanese Law and the opportunities that these provide for the agriculture sector. Her talk focused on the factors that hinder access to agricultural lands in Lebanon and the legal means that can help facilitate access to these lands.
Ardi Ardak initiatives were presented by Mr. Nicolas Gholam from ESDU, and Ms. Sarah Karam highlighted the alignment of these initiatives with ESDU activities and projects. On the other hand, Mrs. Patricia Kebbe presented Zico House as community based agri-food hub, and Dr. Yaser Abunnasr, LDEM Chairperson, presented the Community Garden that will be established at the FAFS ECO-UNIT.
The FAFS ECO-UNIT will be a showcase for sustainable agro-ecological practices and will be a prototype of integrated agricultural, landscape, conservation, and food practices. It will expand the educational, research, and community outreach activities of the faculty within AUB; at the same it will disseminate knowledge outside the University.
With the Danish NGO Zaher-Grow to
Learn, FHF continues to promote organic agriculture among youth and kids
through learning gardens. The project entitled “Learning Gardens as a Tool for
Development in Lebanon” was launched in June 2019 and aimed “to strengthen the education and
involvement of the participating children and youth, to develop their knowledge
on nature and its plants and to make them build up capacity and increase their
livelihood resilience through the learning garden activities”. The
project is supported by CISU – Social Society Fund in Denmark.
The project is implemented in partnership with several local NGOs like Bouzourna Jouzourna (BZJ), SOILS Permaculture Lebanon, and Jibal who worked on designing the gardens and conducting the gardening workshops with FHF in BZJ farm in Saadnayel, Action Aid Arabia (AAAR) centers in Jeb Jennine and Baalbeck and Malaak center in Halba.
Educational activities included workshops on organic, inexpensive methods with respect to traditional, local garden practices, as well as on healthy nutrition, food preservation and environmental awareness.
FHF team who is in charge of the
gardening activities in Malaak, conducted twenty workshops in Halba on
designing the garden, planting seasonal crops (tomato, cherry tomato,
peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower, romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce,
green cabbage, chicory aka hindbeh),
establishing a composting unit, making mouneh, learning about biodiversity,
preparing bio-pesticides, etc. Fifteen boys and girls aged between 8 and 12 attended
the workshops and participated in planting the garden of the center and taking
part of the daily follow-up activities with help from the volunteers and the
Through their active participation
in the garden, it is expected that the children and youth will obtain ownership
of the gardens while their feeling of responsibility and self-esteem will
increase as well. They will
learn about inexpensive, organic gardening methods which they can bring back
home to their families and communities, and will hopefully be able to
improve their food security by increasing food availability all year round.
Learning gardens can hence be considered as a coping mechanism in severe food
insecurity situations, which develop new skills for the participating kids and
youth to enable them to create agricultural spaces in their settlements in
Lebanon, and in Syria when back home.
As we come to the end of 2019 and we look
forward to welcome 2020, we would like to look back at the success our farmers’
market “Souk aal Souk” has accomplished in the last twelve months this year,
and thank all our partners including farmers and producers for making it a year
to remember. 2019 was among the busiest years for Souk aal Souk in the
promotion of local food, exploring new partners and markets, and reaching out
for more customers and local producers.
Quick overview of 2019
Souk aal Souk – Farmers Market was
organized on a regular basis in Jeanne D’arc Street – Hamra, Beirut. Those
events were the fruit of joined efforts between FHF, the Environment and
Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU) at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food
Sciences (FAFS) and the Neighborhood Initiative (NI) at AUB. The souks gathered
small-scale farmers, food producers, craftsmen and NGOs like “Recycle Lebanon”,
“Food Blessed”, “Too Good to Waste”, and many others… The participants coming
from different Lebanese rural and urban areas offered specialty products to their
urban clients including a wide choice of traditional food, fresh fruits and
vegetable and even handcrafts.
Souk aal Souk also visited Zero4 in
Naccache region, on 3 different occasions during the summer of 2019. The
Naccache neighborhood was delighted to support the local producers as much as it
enjoyed their handmade traditional products.
The souk didn’t stop its wheels from moving
around schools and universities including the American Community School
(ACS), the International College (IC), the Grand Lycee Franco-Libanais and
finally its home AUB at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and the
Olayan Suleiman School of Business.
At the end of this year and under the
pressure of the stressing economic situation in Lebanon, FHF teamed up with
ESCWA Staff Council and organized a special Christmas Souk aal Souk in the UN
House, Beirut in collaboration with ESDU. The event was very successful on many
levels, and further collaborations are foreseen in 2020.
As the economic situation in the
country is expected to burden the Lebanese communities, different initiatives
aiming at supporting local production are being lead around the country. The small-scale producers and farmers in the rural areas
particularly are considered among the most vulnerable groups who will greatly
affected by the escalating pressures. As a New Year Resolution, it would the best
time to think and act collectively, the time to support the Lebanese producers
and to stand for local products. It is the time to work all together hand in
hand to keep the wheel of the local economy rolling. With this being said, FHF
continues to spread awareness on local food systems and looks forward to
starting another successful year.
Ursino project aims at promoting food culture among youth in
seven countries by helping them to discover the culinary heritage of their
country and exchange this among with each other.
The project is implemented by Konstelacio a French NGO which aims to
raise awareness and educate the general public about cultural diversity. It
works mainly with children but also with various actors specialized in the
field of childhood (teachers, animators, educators etc.).
Young people aged from 11 to 14 years old will document traditional
local, regional and national recipes. They will be supported by Konstelacio
team and local partners to research on the origin of recipes and ingredients in
Short videos will be produced throughout the project, and in
which young people will share extracts from their research. The movies will be
subtitled in each country’s language and exchanged between young participants
from the seven countries as well as with the general public.
The team will visit France, Italy, Lebanon, New Zealand,
Benin, Argentina and Canada.
In Lebanon, local partners include FHF and Tawlet of Souk el
Tayyeb in addition to chefs like Chef Youssef Akiki. Students from “L’Ecole des
Trois Docteurs” participated in the research supported by FHF team
during the month October 2019.
However, due to the revolution that arose in Lebanon towards
the end of the month, activities in Lebanon were put on hold, and Ursino team
left to explore recipes in Recco, Italy.
Then at the end of this adventure around the world, a
cookbook is expected to be published, and which will compile the recipes
collected and chosen by the young people as well as a selection of anecdotes
and various information from their research.
On September 12 and 13, 2019 the UNESCO organized, in collaboration with the Government of the Italian Republic, and with the support of the Region of Emilia-Romagna and the Municipality of Parma, the World Forum on “Culture and Food: Innovative Strategies for Sustainable Development”.
The forum gathered speakers and participants from around the world to analyze and discuss the links between food, culture and society, as well as the evolving landscape of food security and food Systems, and their role in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Food Heritage Foundation was represented by its president Dr. Mabelle Chedid who was invited bu the UNESCO as a speaker in the first panel about ” Cultural heritage and food: the foundations of cultural identity”.
Dr. Chedid introduced the activities of FHF aiming at preserving the Lebanese culinary identity as well as creating bonds between the old and new generations through sharing recipes and traditions. In her talk, she stressed on the clear dissociation between food and culture in a world that is becoming more globalized and where the basis of food is becoming uni-dimensional with a declining cultural diversity. However, mentioned some pockets of resistance such as the international Slow Food movement and religious communities which are still capable of preserving aspects of food culture all over the world. According to Dr. Chedid, to be able to face and adapt to global trends, culinary traditions need to be well anchored in the societies (where they are practices, consumed, produced etc.) and should have a certain economic value for the people. She gave the example of “kishk” an agro-pastoral product produced and consumed in rural Lebanon, which was able to sustain its production by rural women despite the changes that occurred in its main ingredients: goat milk and bulgur. Despite the decline in milk population and consequently goat milk, and the substitution of old wheat varieties with imported hybrid and more productive ones, kishk recipe proved to be resilient by adapting to new ingredients: cow milk instead of goat milk and new varieties of wheat.
The interview with Dr. Chedid on UN News is available in Arabic here.
Hamra rejoices in Souk aal Souk Christmas- Farmers Market!
The Food Heritage Foundation in collaboration with ESDU and AUB Neighborhood Initiative organized its Christmas version of the Souk aal Souk Christmas – Farmers’ Market on the 18th of December in Jeanne D’Arc Street, Hamra.
Where else could you get into the Christmas spirit better than one of the busiest Hamra streets in Beirut! Twenty Six local farmers and producers participated in the souk; they offered a variety of fresh and organic groceries, Christmas and holiday healthy cookies, recycled accessories and many other locally produced goods. This souk shared food, traditions and hopes in a way helping bring together different communities, and built bridges between them.
“Think Local, Shop Local!” was the slogan of the Christmas souk and it meant to be a call out for supporting the local producers coming from different Lebanese areas. It promoted local environmentally sustainable food production and the preservation of centuries of Lebanese food Traditions. FHF and ESDU aim to create marketing & distribution channels as part of their plan to build the capacities of the vulnerable Lebanese producers and to connect the producers from rural areas with the city consumers by offering the consumer healthy local alternatives and the producers a market to vend their goods. In addition, they work to preserve the Lebanese food and agriculture traditions and pass the knowledge from one generation to the other.
The Christmas- farmers market was admired by visitors from all over Hamra, demanding to organize it periodically.
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