On Friday, September 27, students enrolled in the food security core course FSEC 300 - Food Security: Challenges and Contemporary Debate conducted a one-day field visit to the Bek'aa Valley, where they visited the Domaine de Taanayel (Taanayel farm), Domaine des Tourelles, and Advancing Research Enabling Communities Center (AREC) at American University of Beirut (AUB).
Mr. Mohamad, local field manager at Domaine de Taanayel, introduced students to the Taanayel farm and its mission in Lebanon and the region. Domaine de Taanayel and arcenciel.aec have signed a long-term partnership deal with the mission to enhance the environment for social work services and the socioeconomic situation in the region. Their common objective is to make the Taanayel farm an agricultural center and key tourist attraction offering innovative activities.
The next stop was the Domaine Des Tourelles winery. Established in 1868 and located in Chtaura at its highest altitude, Domaine des Tourelles is one of the oldest commercial and highly acclaimed wineries in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Students had a chance to meet co-owner and winemaker Faouzi Issa (FAFS alumnus, 2006). Mr. Issa has received international awards for his winemaking, including the International Wine Challenge (IWC) in 2018. He explained how the wine industry shines in the Bek'aa Valley, which covers almost 90% of the wine production in Lebanon, and contributes a high economic value to the Lebanese food industry.
At the last stop, AREC - AUB Bekaa, Dr. Martin Keulertz, Director of the Food Security Program, led a walking tour of the AREC facilities. He spoke to students summarizing the food security situation of the Bek'aa Valley and the challenges the local community is currently facing. Dr. Imad Saoud, Professor of Aquaculture and Aquatic Science at AUB, showed the students the aquaculture demonstration plot and explained the best practices his team is using in the field to address the food security challenges.