Leading facilities management company Emrill has launched a pilot project under which concreted frontages and vacant sand areas within residential communities in Dubai are being turned into productive vegetable gardens and attractive green spaces.
Earlier this year, Emrill launched its first project at UAE-based wasl properties’ R456 residential community in Dubai, which has nearly 1,500 apartments housing over 5,000 residents.
As part of the project, which benefits from plants and landscaping advice from landscape company Love Gardens, frontages and areas previously covered by sand were removed and replaced with working gardens, said the statement from Emrill.
Organic fertiliser and irrigation systems were added and planted with a range of different vegetables, including radishes, eggplants, and chillies. Thanks to the overwhelming initial success of the project, many further additions are planned, including cabbages, tomatoes, beetroot, okra, watermelons and carrot plants, it added.
Emrill said its objective was to advance the ‘greening’ of Dubai by converting concreted and sandy areas into eye-catching green spaces with vegetable gardens, benefiting residents with fresh, organic produce supply.
A notable aspect of the project is its low carbon footprint, as no transportation of produce is required, while also meeting numerous sustainable objectives through the use of organic fertiliser. Irrigation is connected to the existing community system, so no additional infrastructure was required, meaning less environmental impact and negligible setup costs, he added.
Harvesting occurs two or three times annually. Residents, all of whom are encouraged to participate, respond to harvest day notices and pick their vegetables with the help of children who also enjoy the educational aspect of the activity.
Produce is then evenly distributed to all residents attending harvest days, while volunteers get involved for periodic weeding, providing another opportunity for residents to interact with one another.
Emrill’s Sunil Kumar, who manages facilities for wasl R456’s residential community, said: "In the beginning, I noticed many residents had vegetable plants in pots on their balconies that were often small and kept in cramped and shaded spaces. Our idea is to bring the residents into common areas, get the community involved, and introduce new green spaces previously covered by normal sand."
"We also saw it as a great way for fellow residents to meet each other and feel that they are contributing to their community," observed Kumar.
“Dozens of residents now show up for harvest day and it’s been a great hands-on experience for the local children, while also providing valuable fresh produce for daily cooking needs,” he added.
Alex Davies, the managing director of Emrill, said: "This project is a win-win situation for Emrill, wasl properties, and residents, benefitting everybody including the environment. It’s all about the greening of Dubai and creating community engagement while benefiting residents through sustainability by providing fresh food produce with a low carbon footprint."
"It’s great to see children and families in the local community getting involved on harvest day and enjoying the vegetables. This helps children understand biodiversity and the food chain, while providing local families with nourishment through a periodic supply of fresh, locally-produced, organic food," noted Davies.
Lauding wasl properties' support for the project, Davies said: "The group’s caring and holistic interest in the wellbeing of its residents provided a strong legacy which benefits the community on many levels, while improving built-environment aesthetics and advancing sustainability objectives, proving to be a perfect example of an Emrill value-partnership."
Emrill now plans to develop a structured programme next year to roll out similar projects to other residential communities throughout the UAE, he added.-TradeArabia News Service
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