Sustainability on the Teaching Agenda at AUD
The Science Division of the School of Arts and Sciences organized a field trip to the Organic Oasis farm as part of the practical learning offered to students in SCIE 251 Environmental Health and Sustainability and SCIE 241 Principles of Human Nutrition. On the farm, students experienced first-hand how food can be produced sustainably in the UAE. A farm engineer gave an interactive tour through several greenhouses and fields, the water desalination plant, and the free-range chicken coops. He highlighted how the farm’s greenhouses use energy-efficient evaporative cooling systems to combat the heat of the UAE desert and how drip irrigation and hoop-houses save water. The sustainable farm is also part of the solution to reducing food waste and landfills by using all natural fertilizers sourced from their own on-farm chickens and compost, as well as waste products from other local organic food processing operations. AUD students asked questions about pricing, distribution, and safety, gaining valuable insight into the complexities and interconnections that food production entails.
Dr. Meis Moukayed, Professor and Coordinator of Natural Sciences, commented on the educational experience, ”Sustainability, food security and good health and wellbeing, are important topics that we educate our students about at the Science Division at AUD. The trip was an enjoyable experiential learning opportunity for our students to learn about sustainable agricultural practices, employed in the UAE, to produce high quality nutritive organic products demanded in our local markets”.
Professor Trayle Kulshan, Faculty at the Science Division, and Senior Academic Advisor and Support Coordinator at AUD, who organized the trip, said: “As a scientist, I think the most important aspects of the farm tour is seeing an example of how sustainability and protecting human health is not simple. There is no turn-key solution. Holistic and multi-faceted innovations that are adapted to the situation are needed, and often have far-reaching positive effects when implemented correctly. We saw how growing healthy food in the UAE desert can actively improve our local environment and economy, making it greener, as well as save the planet by reducing the carbon footprint of food. Imagine how much fossil fuel emissions you can save by eating locally produced, sustainable tomatoes and cucumbers rather than shipping them to Dubai from industrial farms in Holland and Australia! As a teacher, I am also a strong believer in fun, hands-on learning. I can show my students a million pictures, videos, and even design great interactive activities for class, but smelling stinky organic fertilizer, chasing noisy chickens, and seeing cabbages growing out of the desert sand is a lot more memorable for AUD students.”
SCIE 251 Environmental Health and Sustainability, and SCIE251 Principles of Human Nutrition are part of the Minor in Health Studies offered by the Science Division at the School of Arts and Sciences, AUD. For further information on the Minor in Health Studies please visit: