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The Hamra district lies in the heart of Beirut, surrounded by large buildings of concrete and glass, shopping malls, and oppressive traffic, but it is also home to a small oasis: a street less than a hundred meters long where small farmers from the surrounding area come to sell their products every Tuesday morning. Here you can find Arab bread, kechek (ground corn seasoned with herbs in olive oil), sumac (a dark red spice with a lemony taste), mwaraka (a thinly rolled pastry filled with walnuts, almonds and honey), cedar honey and aromatic herbs.

 

Once considered the Paris of the Middle East due to its cultural vitality and cosmopolitan  atmosphere, Beirut was torn apart by a 15-year long civil war (1975 to 1990). It then experienced repeated crises which culminated in the 2006 conflict between Hezbollah militias and the Israeli army, further crippling the economy and social fabric. Beirut has now bounced back but is embracing modernity and unrestrained development, following the example of the nearby Gulf States, and leaving behind whole swathes of Lebanese society. The city's rich historical traditions are rapidly giving way to standardized modern tastes and large numbers of showy Western-style shopping malls.

 

Held every Tuesday from 9 am to 2 pm, the Beirut Earth Market has provided an important new outlet for 15 small-scale farmers and producers from the city's surrounding region. The market provides reliable access to quality food; as with all Earth Markets, it has also create an important social space for people to meet, and where they can rediscover the distinctive features of their regional cultural identity.

 

The Beirut Earth Market has been developed as part of the ROSS program (Reconstruction, Employment, Services and Development) of Italian Cooperation, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This program has provided support to small producers through training courses and assisted in opening a further two Lebanese markets in El Mina and Saida. The project is co-financed by the Tuscany Regional Authority, and is run by the NGO UCODEP in collaboration with Slow Food Beirut and the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity.

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Beirut Earth Market
Hamra street
every Tuesday - 9 am to 2 pm
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