In the fertile plains of the Bekaa valley, in eastern Lebanon, seven hectares of wheat stand tall under the sunshine. In one field, sprays of black florets cast a striking shadow over the golden ears; in another, the grains are long and thin, humped and yellow like an old camel’s tooth.
Unlike on many farms, where homogenous crops form a uniform mass, these wheat fields are diverse and visually distinctive because they have been grown at Buzuruna Juzuruna – a seed producer and sustainable farming school that cultivates heirloom seeds.
Buzuruna Juzuruna’s aim is to preserve and promote the use of ancient grains from the Shaam — the historic region along the Eastern Mediterranean coast . It has operated out of the small town of Saadnayel, in the Beqaa, since 2017.
And, as Lebanon has faced compounding crises — including a wheat shortage caused by the war in Ukraine, which supplies 80 per cent of the country’s imports of the grain— there has been a surge in demand for Buzuruna Juzuruna’s homegrown seeds and ecological methods.