• The inspirational story of an 8-year-old farm owner and entrepreneur

Sharjah: Leading experts in organic agriculture, wellness and nutrition asserted that organic farming is the agriculture of our forefathers, debunking the notion of it being a foreign concept. The discussion centred around the positive impact of home mini-farms on psychological well-being and family unity, and how to achieve a state of balance and harmony among all elements of the human entity, including body, mind, spirit, and emotions.

This came during the second Sharjah Talks, a collaborative initiative organised by the Department of Statistics and Community Development (DSCD) in partnership with the Sharjah Government Employees Club (SGEC).

The event, themed 'Sustainable Harvest: Organic Agriculture and Nutrition Wellness,' took place at the Shajar project in Al Jada, Sharjah and was graced by the presence of key dignitaries, including Sheikh Sultan bin Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of DSCD, Ahmed Hamad Al Suwaidi, Chairman of the SGEC, along with department heads, and employees.

Soil is the foundation of the food cycle

The first panel discussion, titled 'Cultivating Sustainability: From Soil to Table', brought together Saeed Al Rumaithi, a UNICEF Climate Change Ambassador Co-founder of 'The Organic Farm', and Eman Al-Marri, organic home farming expert. Al Rumaithi emphasised that organic farming is the agriculture of our forefathers. "I am on a mission to raise awareness in the community to transform unused spaces in homes into mini-farms."

He stressed that soil is the foundation of the food and fungal cycle, and preserving it is key to transitioning to sustainable farming. "Stimulating the production of microbes in the soil makes it suitable for farming even if the amounts of fertiliser are small. I advise farming projects not to buy seeds from the market but rather extract seeds from their produce due to their adaptability to the local environment.”

Home Farming: Comfort and Family Cohesion

For her part, Eman Al Marri, a home organic farming expert, said: "Organic farming is my passion, hobby, and message to the people; I started it to prove that the UAE soil is suitable for farming. Our land is ready for agriculture, but we must learn the right methods suitable for our climatic and environmental conditions."

She added, "Home gardens greatly improve the quality of life for families and children, improve immunity, and increase happiness and comfort levels. They also strengthen family cohesion when family members share in gardening tasks; I believe my work in reviving the soil is one of the greatest charities I can offer to myself, others, and the universe."

Harmony in Health: Nourishing the Body, Mind, and Soul

In the second panel discussion titled 'Harmony in Health: Nourishing the Body, Mind, and Soul', Chef Luca Cobre, from Healthy Farm Eatery, highlighted the comprehensive nature of wellness: "True health encompasses not just what we eat but also includes regular exercise and herbal intake. It's about a collective effort where different health practices complement each other."

Delving into the significance of organic food, Cobre added: "The organic movement, emerging as a response to the overuse of pesticides and hormones in agriculture, signifies a return to our ancestral roots of natural farming." He stressed that organic certification ensures that consumers purchase products that are verified to be free from harmful substances.

Health.. A State of Holistic Wellness

For her part, Dima Khalaf, Founder of Wellness by Dima, said: "Health transcends the mere absence of disease. As a holistic nutritionist, my practice is about embracing the entirety of our being—physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental. It's about nurturing every facet of ourselves to achieve a state of comprehensive wellness that nourishes the mind, body, and soul in unison."

Speaker Mahdiah Al Jed, Co-founder of Hikma, emphasised the importance of balance in achieving health, not just physically but also emotionally and spiritually. “Herbalism also plays a big role in guiding individuals towards innate healing through nutrition, lifestyle changes, and the support of plants and herbs.”

Shereen Al Mulla, Co-founder of Hikma, stressed the need to acknowledge and address symptoms as signals from the body rather than suppress them. “We need a back-to-basics approach, which includes eliminating toxins, opting for organic food, exercising, getting quality sleep, and exposure to sunlight.”

Little Farmer Experiments

The day's event also featured a session titled "Little Green Thumb: Experiments of a Little Farmer," where 8-year-old farm owner Musleh Al Aryani highlighted how his project utilises air AC units' water for irrigating crops. He expressed his aspiration to contribute to enhancing the nation's food security when he grows up.

Concluding the event, the Shajar project hosted a workshop facilitated by Heba Elias, the project's coordinator, who introduced participants to organic farming methods.

Video Link: https://we.tl/t-RKnAVIja4p