The  CULTURE OF ARAB FOOD course, sponsored by University of South Carolina’s Honors College and Arabic Program, started a new semester. This year, students will learn about t the social, historical and geographic trajectory of Arab food from seed to plate. They students again will learn about the history of agriculture and food systems of Southwest Asia and North Africa. This includes studying a culinary history of the region, studying issues of food security, sustainability, the impact of political developments on agriculture, food production and consumption and the environmental impact of development, structural readjustment programs, and market liberalization on issues such as agriculture, agricultural workers, land management, water resources, and urbanization.

That said, the class will, once again, learn to cook dishes from Southwest Asia and North Africa, some of which are practiced today and some which are now ascribed to history, extant only through medieval cookbooks.  Most important among the cooking component is that student will learn how to make some simple, basic dishes that are eaten and form the basis of the cuisine of most of the Arab world, including dough, flat bread, and yogurt.

We will also be planting TWO gardens: a FALL and WINTER garden. From this experience, as a part of the Service Learning component of the class, the students will be contributing to the community, planting and preparing gardens for families in West Columbia.

After we had two classes, the students JUMPED into the garden and did a great job. I’d like to thank Trace Belou for helping with the garden while I was in the Middle East this summer. She kept it going and even flourishing. That said, the class completely renovated much of the garden, ripping up spent-plants, doing a massive amount of weeding, fertilizing the tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, melons and herb garden. We built up new beds and planted Chard, broccoli, boc choy, and beechnut squash for the FALL garden.

The students did a GREAT job and took on the tasks full-heartedily. More to come.

Weeding
BEFORE                                                                                  and                                                  AFTER
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