Grow your own food in balconies, terraces in Dubai

 

Grow your own food in balconies, terraces in Dubai

Dubai - The campaign, which will offer workshops to different society segments, aims to raise awareness on the importance of farming at homes and schools.

by

Sherouk Zakaria

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Published: Tue 27 Sep 2016, 3:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 28 Sep 2016, 6:46 PM

Dubai Municipality launched its second "Grow your food" initiative on Tuesday to encourage residents to cultivate vegetables and fruits at balconies and terraces of their homes.
But this year, the Food Safety Department will add people with disabilities to the competition's categories that include schools, government and private companies, and residents.
The campaign, which will offer workshops to different society segments, aims to raise awareness on the importance of farming at homes and schools.
"People with disabilities are an integral part of the community and have an active role in society's development. They have special power of their own," said Al Awadhi.
He added that the initiative supported by The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations works on educating families on growing their food through simple techniques. "They do not have to grow a farm. It is easy to plant natural food in balconies."
The competition has so far gathered more than 500 participants who are mostly residents. According to Shugufta Zubair, senior Food Safety Awareness Support Officer, around 300 residents and 200 students already have gardens or are working towards making one.
The previous campaign saw the participation of 4,000 students, 20 schools, 200 residents and three labor camps. While last year, winners walked away with Dh10,000, prizes are still under talks this year and could possibly present a larger sum of money.
Zubair noted there are talks with Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) to make gardening as part of school curricula.
"Planting school gardens will instill the habit of minimizing food waste among students who can, in return, convey it to their families," said Zubair.
She noted that the campaign will help promote food waste reduction as participants witness the hard work that goes into growing crops. It will further help grow nutritious and natural food that are free from pesticides.
Food waste reduction 
Nabil Gangi, FAO deputy regional representative to the Near East and North Africa, said global markets waste 30 per cent of food and associated resources. He noted that awareness campaigns make a difference in reducing waste.
"In developing countries, we see higher waste at the production, and distribution level while at more affluent societies, we see it at consuming side," said Gangi.
"Increasing awareness will help with consumption and future production to eliminate food waste."
Grow your food steps
For residents, free workshops will be conducted every Saturday starting from October onwards at Desert Group in Dubai.
The competition will be open to all participants who will be given 2-3 months to plant their seeds then send pictures of crops.
The jury will evaluate the gardens and select ten contestants from each category. Winners are expected to be announced in March.
To register, visit www.growyourfood.ae
sherouk@khaleejtimes.com



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