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.