Badaro Urban Farmers (BUF) launched the first Badaro Farmers Market on Sunday, November 19, as part of several planned environmentally-friendly and community-building activities and initiatives which they hope result in a greener neighborhood with a strong community spirit.
BUF members want to both provide producers with a low cost option to sell directly to consumers, and for Badaro residents to be able to purchase fresh produce directly from producers. This direct contact allows producers to educate their customers on the growth and production processes.
Attended by nearly 400 visitors, the first market hosted 13 producers selling a variety of products, including fresh, and in some instances organic, produce as well as honey, zaatar mixes, kombucha, mouneh, sugar free jams and chocolates, and organic wines and soaps. The GGRIL initiative sold their glass items and a local shop Au Soleil sold decorative items made from recycled wood.
A Badaro Urban Farmers information stand provided visitors with information on the initiative, collected feedback and ideas, and signed up volunteers.
Local NGO Namlieh provided sajj and other food items while Cedar Environmental contributed two community tables made of recycled plastic bags, providing visitors with a central place to meet and engage with each other.
Compost Baladi was on hand to raise awareness on composting, sold compost, and collected organic waste, while the Cedar Environmental team manned their recycling station and collected recyclable waste.
A workshop on bees and pollination was offered to children by Le Drageon, an education center for environment and sustainable development.
Stand holder Fady Aziz of Good Thymes noted: “It was amazing! Great atmosphere indeed and positive vibes all around - from you the organizers and from the people who attended the market. Thumbs up! We are definitely in for at least the next five markets. Thanks a lot for this opportunity and keep it up.”
The market will take place every Sunday from 10 am – 2 pm. Badaro Urban Farmers plan to gradually grow the weekly market to include breads and other healthy food items, fresh herbs and flowers, snails, locally brewed beers, and a gift basket stand. While identifying new stand holders, the groups focuses on quality and affordability. Badaro-based NGOs will be invited to promote their activities and sell any products they produce on a rotation basis.
The Comité des Commerçants de Badaro supports the Badaro Farmers Market, by providing the space for the market, obtaining the required official approvals, and communicating the market announcement.
“Farmers markets play a vital role not just in generating real income for farmers, but in forming a healthy, prosperous food system and creating environmental awareness,” says Cyril Rollinde, a member of Badaro Urban Farmers. “By providing the opportunity for producers to connect directly with consumers, and via the workshops offered, the market also serves as an education center. Producers and animators are teaching customers and their children about agriculture, beekeeping, recycling and composting. The market makes the community stronger and healthier.“