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Giving Compass' Take:
• Across the Middle East, urbanization, climate change, and resource scarcity threaten food security. These 16 food and agriculture initiatives redefine how the region grows, eats, and disposes of its food.
• What are some innovations happening in other developing countries? How can donors help support food security?
The Middle East—home to the Fertile Crescent—introduced domesticated agriculture 12,000 years ago. Today, news from the region features conflict, urbanization, food and nutrition insecurity, natural resource scarcity, and climate change—challenges that have made the region into the world’s largest importer of food.
But many organizations across the Middle East are working to confront these challenges and come up with solutions that are environmentally and economically sustainable—as well as socially just.
These projects not only redefine the future of food and agriculture, but are preserving regional diets, farming traditions, and ancestral knowledge that originated modern agriculture in the Middle East.
- Ark of Taste, Israel. The Ark of Taste collects products worldwide that risk disappearing within the next few generations including fruits, vegetables, animal breeds, cheeses, bread, and more. In Israel, the Ark of Taste focuses on the traditional products that belong to Israeli communities—like matzo. While the flour to make the bread features grain never exposed to rain, some communities also request that the grains be handpicked in traditional ways. Due to costs and hardships getting this flour, bakeries are disappearing; but the Ark of Taste works to protect matzo in the face of these challenges.
- al Hima, Jordan. al Hima aims for a food secure future by supporting Jordanian farmers in sourcing and planting local, organic seeds; advocating for fair-trade agriculture; facilitating farmer exchanges; and partnering with the National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension of Jordan. The organization raises awareness around the cultural and culinary value of heirloom foods by connecting restaurants to local producers. Through one of its projects working toward sustainable food initiatives, al Hima is one of the founders of the Slow Food Jordan movement.
Read the full article on innovative agriculture in the Middle East by Danielle Nierenberg at Food Tank.