Not far from Dubai, the Abu Dhabi eco-chicks arrange nights out and other eco-centric activities that coalesce the emirate’s green minds. They have also created a user-friendly map to make organic and sustainable businesses easier to find. While Dubai might not have the eco-chicks to put them on the map, organic farms are beginning to blossom. As such, local businesses now have the option to source their organic food locally and lower their carbon footprint. One business with an outlet in Dubai, Baker & Spice, which hosted the UAE’s first farmer’s market, has taken the lead.
Yael Mejia is Baker & Spice’s brand consultant, as well as the Chief Executive of Foodcraft Solutiona. She describes to Hotelier Middle East that although the organic infrastructure in Dubai is relatively undernourished, it is possible to be more ecologically aware without tipping the budget.
“We know the name and address of 90% of the fresh produce items in our stores and work directly with local farmers in the UAE,” she told the business site.
She also monitors every dry product that comes in to ensure that it has arrived by boat, that it is organic, and in some cases that it comes with a fair trade label.
“Even our Canadian beef comes by sea, and the animals are farmed along compassion in world farming guidelines, on restored prairie land,” she said.
Baker & Spice constructs menus that are based on seasonal variability instead of forcing a system to provide foods that are out of season locally, thereby driving the carbon footprint up as those products must thus be imported from the other hemisphere.
Buyers should also have a more evolved geographical awareness of the origin of food, according to Mejia.
“For instance, import onions from Oman or India if you must: it’s much closer geographically than Holland or Australia. Train your buying team to ask questions and demand answers from their suppliers — and check that they are telling you the truth,” she told HME.
Baker & Spice is not the only “eco-friendly” establishment in Dubai.
Chief executive Nils El Accad of the Organic Foods and Café brand describes their mandate to “reduce, reuse, and recycle:”
“Our tables are made from cable drums, while the other tables and chairs are from when Jumeirah Beach Hotel refurbished its Argentinian restaurant,” he explained.
“The mirrors are from a palace that was renovated; the benches and bench tables are made of old pallets and ply-wood, while the lighting is made of old bottles and uses low energy bulbs.”
But it isn’t easy. Some landlords prohibit composting, and recycling facilities are limited. Nonetheless, by sourcing ingredients more carefully and reducing overall consumption and waste, businesses in Dubai can cut their carbon footprint.
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image via Ron Dressel Photography