As the deepening economic crisis continues, the soaring prices of basic necessities like bread have pushed many Lebanese below the poverty line.
With Lebanon’s bakers relying on imported wheat to produce their goods, the cost of even the heavily subsidised traditional flatbread – eaten by rich and poor alike with most meals – has tripled since 2019.
Mavia Bakery, a small outfit tucked away in Beirut’s Gemmayzeh district, is trying to ensure Lebanon has better food security and is less dependent on imported flour for its bakeries with a series of humanitarian projects.
Opened in 2020 by educational NGO Sadalsuud founder and avid baker Brant Stewart, the bakery works out of a cooperative kitchen in Tripoli and only hires women from marginalised communities.
“This space came about because I wanted to do something that is desirable and needed regardless of who makes it, otherwise it’s not sustainable,” Stewart told Al Jazeera. “The number of people willing to buy something because of who made it dries up quickly – there are only so many beaded bags that people can buy, but everyone needs bread.”