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UAE: Sharjah University’s weekly organic market boosts student well-being – News

It is a celebration of locally grown products that encourages sustainability and community connection.

Photos: supplied

Published: Saturday, October 14, 2023, 6:00 am

Every Thursday night, the library garden of the American University of Sharjah is dyed in various colors. There is a market inside the campus that sells fresh organic vegetables and fruits.

Manbat Farmers’ Market, a weekly celebration of locally grown produce that fosters sustainability and community connection, engaging students, faculty and staff in this lively initiative where they can take home organic fruits and vegetables. The market is live from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

This weekly event brings an explosion of color and flavor to campus. “It is a very colorful and fun adventure for us. Many of us shop here instead of going to supermarkets,” said Christine, a student at the university.

“It’s not just about choosing vegetables, it’s about making healthier choices and helping our local farmers. Our meals are fresher and tastier,” Christine said.

The initiative, a collaborative effort between AUS and Arada that aligns with the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051, addresses the challenges of our global era. By promoting healthy, homegrown products, the Manbat Farmers Market emphasizes the importance of sustainable living and supports AUS’ commitment to experiential learning.

The market not only offers fresh produce but also connects the AUS community directly with local farmers. By bringing the freshest and most nutritious products to market, the university aims to convince local buyers that 100 per cent homegrown ingredients not only increase the UAE’s long-term food security, but are also great for the environment and health.

In addition to vegetables and fruits, visitors can savor tasty meals prepared by participants. “I come here for vegetables and in particular for ice cream made with Ajwa fruits and dates,” said Ameera Al Hasani, a student at the university.

“Bringing home organic products from the market is not just about eating a delicious salad, it is a small act that generates a big impact. We, as students, are not just consumers, we are contributors to sustainability. It is incredible to buy local vegetables, which connects us to the environment and the community in such a meaningful way,” said Al Hasani.

Market vendors said students are adopting sustainable practices and staying fit and healthy. “Many students come to us asking us to bring them certain fruits and vegetables. I think they follow a diet plan every week and buy vegetables from us,” the seller said.

“The prices of organic products here are cheap and affordable. Once they come here they buy it for a week. The best sellers are potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce and eggplant in Vegetables and different types of melons, bananas in fruits,” added the seller.

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