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Category — Middle East

UAE: Dubai Gets Its First Indoor Vertical Farm

Founder & CEO Omar Al Jundi & co-founder Grahame Dunling.

The farm is called Badia Farm — “badia” is Arabic for “oasis” — and, like other urban indoor farms in cities like New York, London, and Chicago, it’s growing a lot of salad greens. Radish, kale, mustard, basil, and arugula all thrive in indoor controlled climate farms.

By Jill Ettinger
Organic Authority
May 11, 2018

Excerpt:

The desert makes growing anything — especially food — rather difficult. Or, at least, it used to. A new startup in the United Arab Emirates hopes to reduce some of the food imports to the region, delivering fresher product that’s grown right in the desert town of Dubai.

The UAE currently imports nearly 90 percent of its food, according to recent data. But Saudi Arabian entrepreneur Omar Al Jundi, hopes his first vertical farm in Dubai will decrease some of the region’s import needs as well as contribute to the health of the residents, and decrease the impact on the environment due to transport.

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May 17, 2018   No Comments

Green shoots of hope: the Chelsea Flower Show garden celebrating the ingenuity of Syrian refugees


(Must see video. Mike) Film: Urban Agriculture in Domiz Camp, Iraq. In 2017 we met Castro Youssef, a refugee film maker in Domiz camp. We purchased him a video camera to document our work and record the everyday life of refugees. Through his work we have been able to prepare a short film about Domiz Camp in Iraq which explores the home gardens, liberation garden, and Crisis Response Garden kits.

“Imagine having the presence of mind when you’re having to flee ­conflict to take seeds of your ­favourite rose with you,” marvels Massey.

By Annie Gatti
The Telegraph
April 27, 2018
(Must see. Mike)

Chelsea Flower Show designers who are ­creating gardens for charities or other not-for-profit organisations usually have several months to immerse themselves in the sponsor’s world before submitting their initial design.

Tom Massey, who is making his Chelsea debut with a Main Avenue garden for Lemon Tree Trust, had just a couple of weeks to come up with a plan before the RHS deadline.

The trust, a US and UK-based group working to create ­pilot projects in urban agriculture and green spaces among displaced communities, gave him an open brief: they wanted a garden that would celebrate the ­resilience and ingenuity of refugees living and making gardens in the harsh conditions of Domiz Camp in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, where summer temperatures soar above 40C and drop below freezing in winter, and where the trust has been providing horticultural support since 2015.

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April 28, 2018   Comments Off on Green shoots of hope: the Chelsea Flower Show garden celebrating the ingenuity of Syrian refugees

Home grown solutions: the rise and rise of the microgreen

Kale plants at the Organic Oasis farm in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

Microgreens are growing in popularity in the UAE market, with a couple of companies even growing them in Dubai

By Anastasia Miari
The National
April 7, 2018

Excerpt:

It isn’t just the nutritional value of these mini veggies that is making this particular food trend catch on. Dubai blogger and photographer Samantha Louise Marshall first began growing her own microgreens to use as stylish garnishes on her food shoots, finding the simplicity appealing.

“I grow wheatgrass and cress from time to time in a really simple glass sprouting jar using packets of seeds,” she says. “I love that you just need water and no soil and that they grow fairly quickly and last a few days. If you use them up and want to take a break, you can just clean out your jar and restart when you want. It’s not like a plant you have to maintain, and a packet of seeds is enough for a few batches.”

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April 13, 2018   Comments Off on Home grown solutions: the rise and rise of the microgreen

Gaza: A garden for all—women and youth rebuild safe and inclusive spaces

From left: Samah Al-Nahal, Dalia Osama and Nihal Zourob are three female architects who completed the blueprint of the public garden in Al-Shoka neighborhood in collaboration with the community members. Photo: UN Women/Eunjin Jeong

The new garden will become a place where everyone in the neighbourhood— including women and girls—can use without the fear of harassment.

UN Women
March12, 2018

Excerpts:

Green, open spaces where everyone can convene, relax and take a break may be taken for granted in some parts of the world. For women and girls in Al-Shoka, a conflict affected neighbourhood in Gaza, this was a distant dream, until now. It took three female architects and a group of young people to rebuild the only public garden in Al-Shoka, since it was destroyed during the 2014 conflict. The architects sought feedback from the community to design the inclusive space, and for the first time, women and youth feel safe and excited about using the public garden.

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April 9, 2018   Comments Off on Gaza: A garden for all—women and youth rebuild safe and inclusive spaces

United Arab Emirates: Dubai chef offers tours of his greenhouse

UAE restaurant Cuisinero Uno has begun to grow its own organic vegetables at this urban farm

By Keith J Fernandez
Gulf News
Mar 3, 2018

Excerpt:

John Martho Buenaventura shows off his baby eggplant with all the pride of a father. “I’m so happy,” he trills, talking to Gulf News tabloid! on the deck outside his second-floor restaurant at Dubai’s Business Bay. “Come back in two weeks and we’ll have a lovely crop!”

Rather improbably, we’re standing in a greenhouse bang in the middle of a dense cluster of high rises, in a very Dubai take on the heightened trend for organic produce and locavore eating. “A lot of people have been growing their own food, but we’re the first restaurant to actually do so on our terrace,” he says.

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March 8, 2018   Comments Off on United Arab Emirates: Dubai chef offers tours of his greenhouse

Community And Vegetables Grow Side-By-Side In Syrian Refugee Camp Gardens

Syrian gardeners at the Domiz refugee camp in northern Iraq share the harvest.
Kastro Yosef/The Lemon Tree Trust

Perkins and her colleagues emphasize the immediate rewards of camp greening with residents — farming skills, keeping memories of home alive, building community, and accessing fruits and vegetables they would not otherwise have.

By Julia Travers
NPR
Feb 22, 2018
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

Fig and pomegranate trees, grapes, carrots, and narcissus flowers are some of the plants that Aveen Ismail like to grow in the Domiz refugee camp in Northern Iraq where they live. That’s because these plants remind her of Syria and home.

At first, Ismail did not find the dry land welcoming. But she values greenery and gardening, so she cultivated a small patch of land next to the house her family built in the camp.

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February 24, 2018   Comments Off on Community And Vegetables Grow Side-By-Side In Syrian Refugee Camp Gardens

United Arab Emirate: Aquaculture and urban farming key to UAE food security

Mariam Saeed Hareb Al Muhairi is an expert in environmental engineering.

“Aquaculture and urban farming have a lot of potential in the UAE,” said Mariam Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Food Security

Binsal Abdul Kader, Senior Reporter
Gulf News
Feb 1, 2018

Excerpt:

The minister said she was looking forward to the innovations in aquaculture and urban farming to be exhibited at the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) that opens on Monday at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec).

She said urban farming also has a lot of potential in the UAE as food can be grown in closed environments. “People need to know what urban farming is,” she said.

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February 2, 2018   Comments Off on United Arab Emirate: Aquaculture and urban farming key to UAE food security

Jordan: Rooftop farming initiative offers fresh start for the needy

“By pursuing an environmentally friendly activity, we have been able to create employment opportunities for women to work from their own homes while breaking the shame barrier that the culture imposes in female workers,” Rahaife continued

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto
The Jordan Times
Jan 22,2018

Excerpt:

AMMAN — The rooftops of Karak are being turned into new agricultural spaces with “Be a Friend to the Environment”, an initiative founded by 30-year-old entrepreneur Faten Al Rahaife, which aims at creating new spaces for composting within rural communities.

“We create new spaces for cultivation on the houses’ roofs to make up for the lack of agricultural areas, planting products that are suitable to the nature of our region such as zaatar, marmara, potatoes a cucumbers,” Rahaife told The Jordan Times, stressing that “Jordan is a fertile land full of natural resources, while the nature of its climate is suitable for the cultivation, and we need to take into account these resources and what we can achieve with them”.

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January 28, 2018   Comments Off on Jordan: Rooftop farming initiative offers fresh start for the needy

United Arab Emirates: Ramada Ajman team harvests organic crops at its urban farm


Click image to see larger file.

Ramada Hotel & Suites Ajman’s green committee, together with the pre-opening team of Wyndham Garden Ajman Corniche, harvested organic produce at its own urban farm located at the hotel premises.

By Sarakshi Rai
Hotelier Middle East
Jan 24, 2018

The crops include eggplants, radishes, tomatoes, rocket and mint leaves, and chilli peppers, among others. Covering 430 square metres of space, Ramada Ajman’s urban farm grows seasonal crops which are used in the hotel’s in-house kitchen.

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January 25, 2018   Comments Off on United Arab Emirates: Ramada Ajman team harvests organic crops at its urban farm

Greening Iraq’s Refugee Camps: “This garden is my kingdom”

Globally, there are around 65 million people living in refugee situations at the moment. Approximately one third of these live in protracted situations—long-lasting periods of uncertainty. Gardens can provide food and income but also a sense of beauty, home, and hope in a challenging situation.

By Helene Schulze
Food Tank
Jan 2018

Excerpt:

The Lemon Tree Trust is a United Kingdom-based nonprofit organization which facilitates greening innovation and urban agriculture in refugee camps in Iraq, Uganda, and Jordan. “People are arriving with almost nothing and are literally making home, so the garden becomes representative of a space that people have control over, some ability to be creative, and a space to just be in after they’ve undergone this process of forced migration,” says co-founder Mikey Tomkins. “It’s a question not only of personal dignity but also of social, communal dignity.”

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January 22, 2018   Comments Off on Greening Iraq’s Refugee Camps: “This garden is my kingdom”

Israel: Bringing Community Gardening to Haredi Religious Community

Haredi religious children gather around an SPNI Community Gardens staff member to learn planting tips in Jerusalem.

Israel’s Society for the Protection of Nature (SPNI) has long maintained a Community Garden Initiative that has grown 70 community gardens in Jerusalem, and literally hundreds of beautiful community gardens around the Jewish State.

By Hana Levi Julian
Jewish Press
December 19, 2017

Excerpt:

Currently, the ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhoods of Choma HaShlishit and Maalot Dafna both have thriving communal gardens.

The project provides unique learning opportunities for all ages, especially for cheder-age (elementary) students who spend most of the day inside studying and rarely have the opportunity to connect with nature.

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December 27, 2017   Comments Off on Israel: Bringing Community Gardening to Haredi Religious Community

Gaza: Enhancing sustainable urban food systems in the Gaza Strip

Proposal: Seeks to continue working towards Palestinian agricultural policies to enhance resilience and sustainability and on the other hand it will support and facilitate local urban agriculture initiatives based on local economic development, local community innovation and youth employability.

Ahmed Sourani – GUPAP Coordinator
GUPAP – The Gaza Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Platform
GUPAP Work plan 2018-2021

Excerpt:

In 2017, GUPAP was established as an independent Palestinian NGO with its own legal status. In the coming years, GUPAP will adopt the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact and promote different actions for promoting local food production by:

1. Promoting and strengthening urban and peri-urban food production and processing based on sustainable approaches and integrate urban and peri-urban agriculture into agriculture and food policies and city development and resilience plans.

2. Seeking coherence between the city and nearby rural food production, processing and distribution, focussing on smallholder producers and family farmers, paying particular attention to empowering women and youth.

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December 3, 2017   Comments Off on Gaza: Enhancing sustainable urban food systems in the Gaza Strip

Egypt Turns to Urban Agriculture to Revive Historically Powerful Sector


An Egyptian farmer collects the cotton harvest at a farm in al-Massara village near the Nile delta city of Mansura, north of Cairo. (Photo: AFP – Khaled Desouki)

Egypt is turning to urban agriculture by establishing its first agriculture city in the southeast part of the Qattara Depression, northwest of the country, as part of efforts aimed at reviving a sector that goes back to the time of the pharaohs.

By Menna A. Farouk
Egyptian Streets
November 6, 2017

Excerpt:

The $US 10 billion agriculture city will span an area of 311,400 acres and will be established under the supervision of the Korean Arab Company for Economic and Cultural Consultancy. The city will host 50,000 smart greenhouses in addition to a number of seawater desalination and solar power plants. It will also include the planting of water-saving strategic crops, the establishment of fish farms and feed factories.

“The city will be a great bellwether [for] the agriculture sector. It will provide thousands of job opportunities for young people and will achieve self-sufficiency from a number of strategic crops,” Hamed Abdel Dayem, spokesman of the Ministry of Agriculture, told Egyptian Streets.

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November 12, 2017   Comments Off on Egypt Turns to Urban Agriculture to Revive Historically Powerful Sector

Rebuilding Iraq: Proposed 3D-Printing ‘Farming Bridges’ To Regenerate War-Torn Mosul

The farms and orchards will be irrigated by water from the Tigris river. All images © Vincent Callebaut architectures

The stacked housing units conceived by Vincent Callebaut are covered with urban farms and agricultural fields.

By Isabel Narea
DesignBoom
Oct 31, 2017

Excerpt:

This would not only guarantee food autonomy to inhabitants, but also excellent thermal inertia to the built environment. the farms and orchards are irrigated by water from the tigris river, and plowed by archimedes screws. Furthermore, gray water from bathrooms and kitchens is recycled and filtered by plants in lagoon waterfalls connected with the river. biomass composters feed the orchards and vegetable gardens suspended in biological fertilizers.

Titled ‘five farming bridges’, the concept puts forward the construction of affordable and adaptable bridges topped with modular housing units. The inhabited bridges are seen as a strategy to rebuild a new city over the ruins of the old one. to address the shortage of affordable housing, the bridges would be 3D printed using debris from war ruins, creating more than 53,000 homes.

Read the complete article here.

November 5, 2017   Comments Off on Rebuilding Iraq: Proposed 3D-Printing ‘Farming Bridges’ To Regenerate War-Torn Mosul

United Arab Emirates (UEA): ‘My Arabian Almanakh’ is the first book to focus on regenerative living and gardening in the Arabian Peninsula


Think about experimenting with fruiting trees, such as citrus, figs and pomegranates, for longer-term food productivity.

My Arabian Almanakh
By: Laura Allais-Maré, founder of Slow Food Dubai and the now-defunct Balcony and Urban Gardening Group on Facebook; Cherida Fernandez, a fine artist; graphic designer Leilani Coughlan; and Prachiti Talathi Gandhi, who took on the responsibility of editing and coordinating the production of the book.

Review by: Melanie Hunt
The National
October 28, 2017

Excerpt:

The leading voice of the work is Allais-Maré, who when she began working on her own garden in the UAE, realised that there was very little information documenting the “how to” of gardening in this climate – and absolutely nothing at all, at that time, on growing using chemical-free and regenerative principles.

The seeds of an idea for a book were planted, and came to fruition four years later in the shape of a beautiful, uniquely informative illustrated journal. The book’s writers are clear that none of them are “professors of botany or qualified horticulturalists”, but that the book is written from the perspective of “leaving the earth better than how we found it”.

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November 4, 2017   Comments Off on United Arab Emirates (UEA): ‘My Arabian Almanakh’ is the first book to focus on regenerative living and gardening in the Arabian Peninsula