Couscous: Seeds of Dignity by Habib Ayeb

Couscous: Seeds of Dignity, 2017
Film, 60 minutes

Couscous, with its various recipes, constitutes the staple food of all of the populations of the Maghreb, including Tunisia. Almost self-sufficient in cereals until the beginning of the 20th century, Tunisia now imports more than half of its food needs as dependency increases year on year. Couscous: Seeds of Dignity, focuses on the political, social, economic, and ecological conditions of cereal and couscous production. The film explores how issues including heritage seeds, farming practices, and agrarian culture directly relate to the nurturing of individual and collective human dignity, which is at the heart of the food sovereignty movement.

Habib Ayeb, born in Tunisia, is a social geographer, researcher, and Associate Professor at the University Paris in Saint-Denis since 1992. His research interests include competitions over resources, including water and land, in rural and agricultural areas, poverty and marginalisation dynamics and processes, social changes, resistances and uprisings (Arab spring), development, environment, and climate changes, and food sovereignty.

This film is screened in conjunction with Edible Responses, a congregation of minds, practices, and ideas that are striving to transform food systems in times of environmental crisis. The afternoon of activities includes talks, a film screening, and a lecture performance; that brings together artists and researchers, who use food as the lens through which to think about systemic injustice and responses to it, especially in light of the climate emergency.  Conceived collaboratively by CLIMAVORE and Art Jameel, its contributors include Cooking Sections (Alon Schwabe and Daniel Fernández Pascual), Devlin Kuyek, Munem Wasif, Nida Sinnokrot and Sahar Qawasmi.