Dubai school students grow, sell vegetables

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on November 22, 2019 | Last updated on November 22, 2019 at 07.18 am


Students also give part of the proceeds to their ancillary staff in the form of gifts such as calling cards, while the other part is reinvested in the garden programme.

Students of a Dubai school are stepping out of their classrooms and engaging with nature to grow fruits and vegetables in and around the school.

Apart from growing organic fruits and vegetables, students of Delhi Private School, Dubai (DPS Dubai) are also boosting their entrepreneurial skills by selling their fresh produce to parents and teachers at a nominal price at a farmer's market organised on the school premises after every harvest. Students also give part of the proceeds to their ancillary staff in the form of gifts such as calling cards, while the other part is reinvested in the garden programme.

The initiative is part of a Green School Project that intends to convert the school compound into a green oasis, keeping with the government's thrust on community involvement towards building a green economy.

From sowing and planting, to harvesting and selling their produce, everything is done by the students. They have been growing a variety of seasonal vegetables and fruits, including salad leaves, chilli, cauliflower, carrots, lemon, ladies' fingers, curry leaves, strawberries, eggplants, spinach, water melon, rich gourd, basil, tomatoes and even medicinal herbs.

Rashmi Nandkeolyar, principal and director of DPS Dubai, said: "The Green School Project primarily focuses on sustainable and healthy eating habits using the principles of organic gardening and growing one's own food in line with the UAE's food security agenda, while focussing on reducing our carbon footprint and fostering sustainability. When they are involved in the sowing, they also begin to eat healthy as well. So this initiative has helped developing healthy eating habits among them too."

As part of this drive, all the students from KG to Grade XII - with active support from their teachers and parents - grow vegetables, medicinal plants, fruits and flowers in six 'urban farms' and 'kitchen gardens' across the school using completely organic methods.

These farms are assigned to different grades and students act as caretakers in conjunction with the school gardener.

Another facet of the 'green' drive involves developing and maintaining vertical gardens and placing of plants inside the school building - be it in the corridors, halls or the 132 classrooms.

Sanchet Rao, Grade 9 student, said the main aim behind this project is to promote self-sustainability. "Nurturing these plants gives us a sense of responsibility and reminds us of the important role they play in keeping us alive. Sometimes we also have our science lessons in these gardens, which helps us convert all the theory we study into action through things such as soil testing, composting and using drip irrigation in the vertical gardens we have made in our classrooms using recycled cans and plastic pots."
Grade 10 student Meghna said the initiative has helped students gain many other values apart from learning about organic farming.

School counsellor Arpita Jain said: "The programme will help students develop their entrepreneurial, social and observation skills."

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