Dubai Municipality teamed up with spice giant Eastern Masala and Jaleel Holdings to launch a new project that aims to pass on a message of healthy living, encouraging residents to create home gardens to grow vegetables, herbs and fruit. The oil-rich Emirate is once again using cash rewards to encourage people to choose healthier lifestyles; last year it offered gold payouts for every kilogram a Dubawi shed. This year that same program fattened up the gold prizes if your child also thinned down. In this region where obesity is ballooning and one in five people has diabetes, do these money-for-mindful-living schemes actually work?
The two-month “Grow Your Food” campaign kicked off via social media as part of Dubai’s World Food Day activities which focus on the theme of “Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth”. People can establish gardens on their balconies, rooftops, in courtyards or car parks – any sunlit area that can allow undisturbed growth.
When asked whether the Dubai weather could prove tricky for home farmers, Khalid Sherif, Director of the Food Control Department, insisted that there’s always a way around it.
Contestants must post pictures of their new gardens on the campaign’s Facebook page (which Green Prophet has tried to find, without luck). A jury will select the best 100 images and, following visits to each garden, will pick 10 winners. Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality, told Emirates24|7, “It’s our way of telling people that we need to focus on eating healthy.”
Winners will be announced in February 2015, and during the National Day celebrations each will receive a certificate and cash prize worth up to $2,700. That’s a lot of green, but we wonder if the results will be perennial.
Image of rooftop plantings from Shutterstock