Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa has announced the successful development of its new resort bio garden, where staff grow herbs and vegetables to enhance the dishes served in the restaurants.
The garden, the brainchild of then general manager, Mark Bettsworth, was started in 2006, and has grown from 50m2 to the 1000m2 it is today.
New director of food & beverage, Dominique Jossi, explained: “We have been experimenting during these years to understand what kinds of fruits and vegetable would grow in this climate. Few successes and several hiccups later, we have now selected those species that are more likely to survive in harsh weather."
The creation of the garden was a unique process, requiring innovative thinking from the team, he said.
“Besides obtaining the first approval of the concept, we had to come up with the financing part of it,” explained Jossi. “We wanted to be financially self-sufficient and therefore started selling our discharged cooking oil to people who used it to produce bio fuel. We then bought water dripping lines for the irrigation, bamboo poles and nets for the protection of the herbs from birds, pests and sun. Every year, we kept producing our vegetables and herbs through our own compost, and also increased the awareness of environmental issues among our guests.”
It has been because of the dedication and hard graft of the Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa staff that the garden has become so successful, said Jossi.
“This kind of project requires dedication, time and resources,” he explained. “Thankfully we have the assistance of our chefs who proudly volunteer to taking care of the continuous grooming of the garden. It would be pretty impossible to maintain the garden without them given the amount of attention it requires.
“Now, not only have we successfully increased the production of naturally grown produce but we have involved hotel guests and Dubai residents in the process.”
Jossi went on to explain that the bio garden has played a big part in strengthening ties between the resort and the local community.
“We have invited schools to get closer to nature, with students actually planting their own seeds. We have a strong attachment to Al Noor School for children with special needs, who have helped us decorating the garden fences. Our resort bio garden is not only is a great place to explore nature, but it is also a great tool to explain that even in the most impossible environments we can actually achieve something unique.”
He added: “We hope that more companies will start understanding that this is not a hobby, it is a dedicated mission, specifically for us as chefs and hoteliers, to communicate to our guests the measures we have taken in order to ensure fresh grown herbs and vegetables.”