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Dubai school pupils grows own veggie garden
School cafeteria uses homegrown organic produce in soups, salads
By Sharmila Dhal, Chief Reporter
Published: 18:00 June 25, 2014
Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/XPRES
Fruits of labour: Students learn techniques of cultivating different kinds of plants
Dubai: A British school in Dubai has launched a unique initiative to promote healthy eating among its students by encouraging them to grow veggie patches on the school premises.
A visit by XPRESS to the Dubai British School (DBS), located in Emirates Living, this week showed children as young as four and five tending to a fresh crop of organic veggies growing alongside their cafeteria. “We watch them grow every day,” said Alexander Ellis, a four-year-old from FS1.
“I love the cucumber plants,” said Rhys Watkins, also from FS1.
Primary Head Teacher Simon Jodrell said the idea of the veggie garden came about in October last year as part of course work that focused on keeping healthy.
“We began by growing some potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage and green beans in a huge planting box in the outdoor learning area with the cafeteria using the produce to make a soup. The aim was to give foundation stage children an idea of how the food we eat gets to the plate. The initiative was a huge success and soon we had seven planters,” he said.
Sabina Sarwar, DBS Marketing and PR Officer, said: “Often when asked where food comes from, children are confused. They think it comes from supermarkets and food outlets. The idea of growing food on our school grounds was to encourage children to learn about the food growing process.”
Over the months, a number of veggies have been added to the garden to include cucumbers, zucchini, sweet corn, horse radish and herbs like rocket leaves, basil and coriander.
Plucking a crop of fresh rocket leaves with the help of the kids, Tuck Shop Café catering manager Julie King said the produce is being used to make a salad that is sold at the cafeteria. The rocket salad has many takers in the higher classes, she added. “Right now, the homegrown produce isn’t enough to make the entire salad. We still source ingredients from outside. But we hope to grow more vegetables on our premises,” said King.