Earth Market
Carlo Petrini Visits Beirut Earth Market

Founder and president of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini visits the Slow Food Earth Market in Hamra early November 2016 for the first time.

Lebanon is presently going through many problems. The political, social, economic, and business arena is suffering. Yet in spite of all this chaos and regional animosity, sometimes international initiative and planning raises awareness of potential in our local markets and projects are created which give us a goal to continue with a ray of hope for the future.

It is in this frame of circumstances that Souk el Ard was born. Souk el Ard is part of a network of International farmers markets based on an initiative of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity. The first Souk el Ard was created in Italy; regulations for participation were designed and have been adapted to the Lebanese market. The regulations set criteria for participation. This is done in order to guarantee a high level of quality and food security.

The goal is to support farmers and producers, encouraging the consumption of local production, preserving local and traditional varieties of food, and last preserving biodiversity.

Producers are called to sell directly at Souk el Ard. This direct sell increases their income because they are selling straight to potential consumers and skipping relations with wholesalers and middlemen. This provides more exposure to participants and gives them more understanding of market needs.

The Souk is not a mere selling point for producers, farmers, and individuals, but is an essential meeting point. It is a place where people gather, socialize and get to discuss topics related to food. Subjects include recipes, quality of food, availability of different varieties in a given region, seasonal impact, and many more. The souk is about people who really care about what they put in their mouths or what they feed their family. It’s about a certain category of people that believe that food is a very important element in our existence. Families come with their children, thus making the souk an educational experience for little ones. The souk is made of many facets to many and gives each one a personal advantage.

Producers, farmers, and individuals participating in the Souk el Ard become part of a network of producers. It creates an arena for exchange of experience and commercial activities among farmers.

What is also very interesting for farmers and producers is that they become involved in the management of the Souk by being members of different committees elected among the producers.

The market includes 20 small producers who have agreed to the initiative. Most of them produce Mouneh (traditional local pantry), and some have fresh fruits and vegetables; two of them being organically certified. In order to make the market more appealing, it has been agreed to include a component of local artisanal products related to food.

Souk el Ard is not merely a local market, but a way to infiltrate positive ideas in a country who is suffering from political instability. It is a way to infiltrate the slow food adage of good, clean, and fair. It is a means to continue working on building energy to safeguard local food traditions that are the core of our heritage. It is the sense of belonging to an international network working for common goal. In short, Souk el Ard is a hope of light where darkness prevails. All we can hope for is that this initiation rubs off and that Lebanon becomes what it was initially, as stated by our ancestors,” the land of milk and honey”.

Producers
Maurice Habib

Honey

Khodr Hamieh

Organic Vegetables

Hani & Siham Ghanem

Local Preserves

Amale Bassil

Homemade Soap

Rodrigue Harb

Vegan Bites

May Metni

Wine and Arak

Abou Rabih

Organic Fruit & Vegetables

Lorenza Zogheib

Baked Goods

Therese Morkos

Homemade Pastries

Violette Nassif

Local Preserves

Nadim Rawda

Baked Goods / Lebanese Cuisine

Iman Sabbagh

Baked Goods & Sweet Pastries

Sonia Tikidjian

Armenian Cuisine

Mona El Dorr

Baked Goods & Lebanese Cuisine

Hanna Hamzeh

Baked Goods & Sweet Pastries