American University of Beirut

 Ardi Ardak

​​​​National Food Security Initiative - by ESDU at AUB-FAFS, Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB), the Food Heritage Foundation (FHF), and Ziko House​​​

 Ardi Ardak Updates

Ardi Ardak Updates | June 2020

​​Newspapers and Articles: Al Kalima | Aliwaa | NNA

Watch updates video​.

ESDU in collaboration with its partners Food Heritage Foundations, Lebanese League for Women in Business and Zico House under Ardi Ardak initiative and in collaboration with other national campaigns and the contribution of the generous donors distributed 675 Food Parcels to families in need, and 87,000 seedlings and 12,000 seeds bags to small scale farmers in various villages and cities all over Lebanon since the beginning of the crisis in March 2020. ESDU has been always committed to support the livelihood of the local communities, and to aid both the beneficiaries and the suppliers; the food items were procured from various suppliers including over 20 cooperatives, community kitchens and small scale local producers benefiting at least 35 vulnerable local families. The Food parcels & seedlings truck visited many villages and cities in Lebanon, such as West Bekaa, Baalbeck, Arsal, Beirut, Tripoli, Akkar and Chouf …

The seeds & seedlings distribution included different varieties such as tomato, cucumber, eggplant, okra, zucchini, spinach, parsley etc. All seeds are local and are open-pollination varieties, provided by different local suppliers/organizations such as Buzuruna Juzuruna farm in Beqaa, that preserves heirloom varieties and grows seeds following organic farming practices. Seedlings are provided by various suppliers/organizations including Cooperation Without Borders, small-scale nurseries, women-led start-ups, and nurseries led by young agricultural engineers.

Ardi Ardak activities weren't exclusive to distributions, ESDU team is working closely with the land owners to assess their lands and provide them with sustainable production plans and in-kind support when available. So far 42 assessment applications were submitted and 3 lands were assessed and supported, the numbers are expected to rise in the near future. Educational videos are being prepared to provide the technical support to new farmers and a hotline was initiated to answer all agriculture related questions and inquiries.

ESDU and Ardi Ardak Initiative also has teamed up with Nadine Labaki and several other sustainable Agricultural initiatives to launch the Zarriet Albi campaign. The national campaign was announced by a song and video clip directed by Nadine Labaki and starred by various Lebanese celebrities calling citizens to grow seeds and vegetables in their homes or their lands. As well Ardi Ardak partnered in other campaigns such as Samidoun campaign for Aljadeed TV and Mission 470 project launched Ali Ghandour Center for Leadership Diversity and Civic Engagement at the International College.

All of this has happened thanks to the contribution of the generous donors and to the hard work of the Ardi Ardak team members either from home or in the field.

Your contribution will save lives! Please donate, click here.

"Samidoun صامدون" Initiative | May 2020

Watch​ video/interview on Al Jadeed TV.​

"زرّيعة قلبي" - "Plants of my heart"  -  a national campaign in collaboration with several 'Sustainable Agriculture Initiatives' in Lebanon | May 2020

Watch​ video/song.

Distribution of Food Parcels in West Bekaa During Coronavirus Lockdown | March 2020

The economic crisis unfolding during the Coronavirus lockdown is keeping the most vulnerable Lebanese communities under unbearable pressures to find their daily sustenance. As part of its mission, ESDU is keen to support our local communities in this time of hardship. A Mouneh Box initiative, established in collaboration with the Lebanese League for Women in Business, the Food Heritage Foundation, and Zico House under the Ardi Ardak Initiative, will allow boxes to be sent to the most vulnerable communities, to aid both the beneficiaries and the suppliers. On March 30, the first batch of Mouneh boxes were sent to 40 elderly recipients who are unable to leave their homes and to families in need in West Bekaa. These Boxes contained essential food items, locally produced by small scale producers in Lebanese rural areas.

Starting next week, the Ardi Ardak team will be  also distributing a total of 1500 seedling to 100 small scale farmers in Rachaya and West Bekaa. The seedlings were grown in the CLIMAT project demoplot in Ras Baalbek.

This happened thanks to the contributions of generous donors.
Your contribution will save lives! Please donate, click here.

​​Launching Workshop | February 28, 2020

Dr. Shadi Hamadeh, ESDU Director, described the importance of Ardi Ardak being a self-sustainable initiative fostering self-sufficiency in an import dependent nation. Dean Rabi Mohtar welcomed the attendees in FAFS-AUB and highlighted the role FAFS has been playing on three main levels (production, landscape and nutrition) through FAFS different departments hence impacting the whole agricultural value chain. Mrs. Asmahan Zein, LLWB President, highlighted the importance of investing in abandoned agricultural lands.  The Keynote Speaker, Dr. Hania Hammoud, lawyer, family business and wealth Advisor at Hamoud Law Firm, presented the state of Land tenure and Access to Land under the Lebanese Legislation 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. 
During the second session, Mr. Nicolas Gholam, ESDU Outreach Operations Officer presented Ardi Ardak initiatives that promotes sustainable agricultural practices and provides small scale producers access to market channels. Ardi Ardak mobilizes human resources by offering them a crowd-sourcing platform to engage partners, create synergies and build linkages and provide stakeholders the possibility to support the network. Ms. Patricia Kebbe, ESDU Sustainability Consultant, described the Agri Food Hub model established in Ziko House which aims at creating an ecosystem for start-ups in sustainable agriculture. The urban agricultural benefits will be put at the heart of the hub mission offering the public a demo unit for urban agriculture. The hub shall facilitate promoting community wealth through connecting supply and demand, outreaching, advocacy, and providing education/learning and technical assistance. Ms. Sarah Karam described the linkages between Ardi Ardak and ongoing ESDU projects and described how ESDU projects are influencing the management of the agro-ecosystem and the socio-technical system hence impacting the environment and the livelihoods of small-scale producers. ESDU capacity building activities are promoting new entrepreneurial activities, and ESDU is now working on consolidating, through Ardi Ardak, the formalization of entrepreneurial activities (the process of developing rules and responsibilities for operating procedures and relationships necessary to gain revenue) and the institutionalization of innovation support (building of sustainable supportive structures for entrepreneurial activities previous to market entry). Finally, Dr. Yaser Abunnasr, LDEM Chairperson (Landscape Design & Ecosystem Management Departments, FAFS), presented the Community Garden that is being 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. The ECO-UNIT will expand the educational, research, and community outreach activities of the faculty within AUB; at the same it will disseminate knowledge outside the University. 

Photos from the Event.


Ardi Ardak Discussion Session | December, 2019

ESDU in collaboration with Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB) and Food Heritage Foundation hosted a discussion session at Zico House about the Ardi Ardak initiative that aims at reviving food security sector by focusing on small scale holders with a special focus on women. The discussion highlighted the importance of fostering self-sufficiency in time of crisis, and discussed the Ardi Ardak initiative that will launch and consolidate the following community-supported activities:1) Lunch Box – Akleh 2) Souk Al Souk (farmers’ market special edition) – Moms & Kids 3) Community Supported Outlets (for marketing & distribution) – Khayme 4) Family Meal – Tanjara 5) Community Gardens for rural women – Jnaineh 6) Mouneh Basket linking Lebanese diaspora to producers – Cedar Basket 7) Herbal Kitchen Kit (urban agriculture) – Aroma 8) Keepers of Darb el Karam – Mechwar.

Among the speakers Dr. Rabi Al Mohtar (Dean of Faculty of Agricultural and Food Science) and Dr. Asmahan Zein (LLWB president) stressed in their speech on the need of reviving the agricultural sector in Lebanon to overcome the existing crisis.

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