Rediscovering the culinary heritage of Jordan thanks to MedSNAIL project in compliance with slow food criteria
Namaa - Women for Cultural Development (Jordan) participated in the bilateral training meeting on the 17th of July 2020 on the Field Mapping activity of the MedSNAIL project, to properly identify local communities of producers, products and local leaders on which to pilot the project in each territory involved. The activity comes following the desk research which provides a review that introduced and pinpointed the study area/ territory and the related agro-food products that will be the subject of the further activities of MedSNAIL.
The meeting focused on the guidelines for the mapping of the products, as well as on how to engage with the producers during the project and after its completion. In the case of Namaa - Women for Cultural Development (Jordan), the focus will be on the rediscovery of the culinary heritage in a specific territory of Balqa in Jordan, which is characterized by its agro-food product biodiversity and its diverse communities making it a unique territory.
Due to its high biodiversity, the territory’s economy is based on agriculture; many products are intended to be valorized accordingly. For example, wheat is a staple that is cultivated annually in Balqa and is made into various products, such as whole-wheat flour, Bulgur, Jareesheh (a form of cracked wheat), Qalyeh (Toasted wheat), and Freekeh. Those products are essential in Jordan and still produced on small scale in the territory of intervention.
Fruit trees are also common in the area and many products are derived from them, for instance, grapes are made into molasses, jam and khabeesa (fruit leather made of reducing grape juice with a mixture of wild seeds and herbs).
In terms of its wild plants’ biodiversity, the territory is considered as one of the richest geographical area in Jordan. The local community still forge in the forests and wild lands for their needs from herbs, spices, and flowers that are vital for many local traditional products such as Hwajet Arab a mixture of wild herbs used to season local dishes and products.
Historically the area is known for its abundant forests with various native trees of which many products are still obtained, such as Snober (Aleppo Pine), Baloot (Oak). Kharoob (Carob) Botom (Terebinth), Qraish (Juniper), Sumac. Such products are in need to be more valorized for both its unique medicinal and culinary properties.
Slow Food Foundation will be advising the partnership including Namaa - Women for Cultural Development on how implement a methodology to help local communities to save and preserve local agro-food products (varieties, breeds, processed food products) that are strongly linked with each of the territory involved in the project, and empower local farmers to contribute to a more socially and environmentally sustainable rural development.
Namaa - Women for Cultural Development will carry out the mapping in the selected territory in compliance with slow food criteria, and will start by identifying the producer and product communities through visit to markets, and compile a list of products (scientific name and common name. Then a detailed information of the product will be drafted in a product data sheet
The MedSNAIL project has a total budget of 2.028.807,74€ and is funded by the EU under the ENI CBC Med Programme by 90% (1.825.926,97 €), it has a three-year duration and aims to foster socially and environmentally sustainable development of agro-food SMEs by giving value to traditional Euro-Mediterranean products according to a “slow” approach and short-chain principles.