Interview: Mohammed Al Dhahouri
March 9, 2020, 10:45 am
My name is Mohammed Al Dhahouri and I am the founder and owner of Local Roots. Our company focuses on organic gardening where we help the local community to produce their own fresh organic food in a more sustainable way. We provide urban farming set-ups, supplies and focus on spreading the knowledge of organic gardening through workshops to guide you step by step through your gardening journey.
What are your opinions on Sustainability?
In my opinion, we should have sustainable ways of living and incorporate it in all aspects of life, whether it’s human, economic or environmental sustainability. By doing that, we can make sure that we are using the current resources wisely for this generation as well as the future generation.
How did your journey to become an organic gardener begin?
My journey to organic began last year when I realized gardening is my passion. Growing up I always grew fruits and vegetables and I enjoyed doing that. So last year I decided to learn more about sustainable organic gardening and take it to a next level. Also, I always wanted to be part of a solution to save our planet earth from the environmental crises that we are going through. I believe organic gardening is one of the key solutions which will help us to save and protect the environment from pollution, and also it can provide us with high quality produce which is very healthy when we consume it.
What are some of the Sustainable initiatives that you and your brand have been apart of?
At Local Roots we focus on environmental sustainability. We use smart and eco-friendly methods of growing organic produce in a very sustainable way and also spread the knowledge of organic gardening to the local community and schools through our workshops.
What are your goals towards sustainability for your company and lifestyle?
One of my goals is to see every household in UAE have their own small sustainable organic garden, where they can produce their own organic food. By doing that, we can cut down tremendously on our carbon foot print if we focused on producing food locally. Also, I would love to see households around UAE recycling their organic waste and produce high quality compost which can be used in the garden throughout the growing season.
Do you think consumer behavior will change to become more sustainable through the initiatives of your company?
Absolutely yes, one the main ideas that we are trying to promote out there is how to produce your own organic food. People do want to eat healthy food, and what’s better than growing it by yourself. So, when people start doing that there will be a shift in mindset from consuming to producing. This will eventually be part of having food security in UAE.
In what ways can consumers progress to become organic farmers?
In order to become an organic farmer, you need to have a very good understanding of the soil, seeds, growing season in UAE, watering your plants and how to protect your plants from pests. Organic farmers will only use sustainable and eco-friendly approach when it comes to produce food. All of the above can be learned when you create your own organic garden and experience gardening. I would say it’s an ongoing learning journey as you learn new things every single day!
What smart eco-friendly methods do you use to grow your produce?
I use organic soil mix which is derived from recycling organic waste. The main component of my soil mix is organic compost which is the final product of recycled organic waste. Also, I use clay pots that we manufacture here in the UAE to irrigate my plants. I bury them in the soil and fill it up with water. As the soil dries up the water starts seeping out from the pot to the surrounding soil and the plants gets the exact amount of water which it needs to grow. By applying this method, we can save up to 80% of water that is used for irrigation. Furthermore, I use “smart pots” to grow veggies inside, they are basically growing bags which are made of fabric and great alternative to plastic pots.
How do you aim to involve the younger generation in your sustainable initiatives?
We have worked with few schools around UAE by setting up organic gardens at their premise. We are engaged with younger generations through organic gardening workshops, where we teach them the basics of sustainable organic gardening. We were just recently awarded
What has your journey to Sustainability been like?
My journey to sustainability started when I realized that we need to start producing our food locally rather than importing it from outside. Starting my own organic garden taught me a lot about sustainability, for example how to consume water efficiently and also how to generate soil through composting.
What does the word “Sustainabilist” mean to you?
I would say a person who wants to have a sustainable way of living and make the correct choices when it comes to the consumption of resource which are available to us.
Would you call yourself a sustainabilist?
Yes, I would definitely call myself a Sustainabilist. In fact, I would call myself a sustainabilist organic gardener.