Qur’anic Botanic Garden (QBG), part of Qatar Foundation (QF), recently hosted a webinar titled ‘Home Farming in Qatar: A Lifestyle for Our Daily Needs’, which explored the role of home gardening in self-sufficiency and its contribution to strengthening food security.
The interactive discussion, moderated by renowned Qatar Radio anchor Buthaina Abdul Jalil, brought together well-established independent agricultural experts, as well as representatives of entities and initiatives in Qatar and Kuwait, such as the Behavioural Healthcare Centre in Doha and ‘Nahmeeha’ Kuwait, in addition to QBG speakers.
The panellists outlined the role of Qatari institutions in supporting agricultural initiatives in the country and the opportunities and challenges of home gardening in the Gulf region, as well as the Kuwaiti experience in home gardening and the country’s environmental conservation initiatives.
The garden at QBG, which contains all the plants mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, Hadith and Sunnah, is home to many plants and herbs, which can be easily harvested at home as well.
In addition to the webinar, QBG regularly hosts educational events and activities related to food security, such as its hands-on Food Security programme for secondary school students, which has graduated more than 250 students in the last three years alone.
Dr Mamoun Mobayed, consultant psychiatrist and director of the treatment and rehabilitation department, Behavioural Healthcare Centre in Qatar, and a webinar speaker, said: “Home gardening is an essential factor in helping overcome certain psychological issues. It makes people feel hopeful and optimistic and the life cycle of the plant itself elicits a person’s meditative and reflective side. This brings forth feelings of gratitude, optimism, and creativity and boosts the production of hormones associated with happiness. In addition, gardening enhances mental and physical relaxation, increases patience and improves both sleep and breathing, due to being in an open-air environment.”
Souad al-Jarallah, president of the ‘Nahmeeha’ initiative in Kuwait, believes that, in addition to its importance to the ecosystem, home gardening has become an essential element of national food security. She added that the ‘Nahmeeha’ initiative is keen to raise the awareness of Kuwaiti and Gulf society about recycling and praised the steps taken by Qatar to stimulate and encourage home gardens as part of its plan to achieve food security on a social level.
Fatima al-Khulaifi, director of QBG, said: “In addition to the contribution to self-sufficiency and food security that home gardening makes, it is also shown to have many positive psychological benefits. Environmental awareness and conservation efforts are at the heart of what we do at QBG, this is why we aim to plant 2,022 trees in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and help contribute to the country’s sustainable development.”
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