Whereas some farmer’s markets can set an elitist tone – appealing mostly to a yuppy or wealthy clientele instead of delighting in bringing good food and good values to the masses – this does not seem to be the case for Beirut’s first farmer’s market, Souk el Tayeb. Started in 2004 by Lebanese celebrity chef Kamal Mouzawak, the market encourages organic farming practices but does not limit its offerings to strictly organic food. As part of its approach to reach out to a greater number of people regarding healthy and eco-friendly eating practices, the market also focuses on small-scale local farmers and local community development initiatives.
The market’s mission, while of course fueled by environmentalism, is also defined by:
- Supporting small-scale farmers and producers
- Carrying out advocacy, research, and education about food traditions, food heritage, and an organic and healthy lifestyle
- Contributing to local community initiatives
- Creating a “platform” that brings together people of different regions, origins and beliefs around a shared goal
In accordance with these goals, the market is constantly organizing activities that attract people to the market and to the idea of conscious eating. Today the market hosted a “Tayeb el Organic” event where people could learn more about organic certification, meet local organic producers, taste organic foods and send their kids to the organic storytelling hour (see the flyer on the left).
And the market holds many such events. Appreciating local (and often organic) food is presented as a way to get back to one’s Lebanese roots, and eat the way people of previous generations ate (and ate well).
The Souk organizers recently opened TawLet, an open kitchen where different farmers or cooks prepare a typical food from his/her region each day. On Mondays through Fridays TawLet hosts a producer’s/farmer’s buffet for lunch, on Saturdays there is a souk brunch, and once a month a special food guest is invited. Cooking classes are offered there as well.
Read more about green living in Beirut::
Beirut’s “A New Earth” Provides Lebanese Urbanites a Place to Shop for Eco-Products
BeBeirut Offers Eco-Friendly Tours in Lebanon’s Capital
Darreja Campaign Encourages Sustainable Transportation in Lebanon