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8 July 2019 08:05 pm

SustainableQATAR’s Weekly Challenge19: FOOD: Choose Local

ILQ Staff
ILQ Staff
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SustainableQATAR’s 52 weekly challenges – that is one challenge per week for a whole year themed by month – are Qatar-specific and Qatar-relevant opportunities for all residents to take actions in personal life, work and within our communities.

Read the blog post on the July Theme ~ FOOD

Challenge #19 ~ FOOD: Choose Local

Eating locally grown food is rewarding. It’s fresher because the time and distance traveled between harvest and table is a lot shorter and we can TASTE it. Fresh produce, according to Ayurveda, has better energy than ‘dead’ food which has been stored long before it reaches our grocery stores. This means that fresh food has a big impact on our personal health and energy, wellbeing, and mental sharpness. It helps the environment by reducing food miles (fuel consumption equals air pollution). Also, most people do not realize that our food loses nutritional value due to respiration with every day after it has been picked. So, the longer produce travels, the fewer nutrients it contains. Therefore, eating local means lowering carbon footprint AND better nutrition and better health.

This is why farm-to-table concepts are increasingly popular in the restaurant industry. We, as customers are better informed about healthy diets and demand restaurants to serve us fresh, healthy, delicious food experiences. We can vote with our money which restaurants succeed. Have you noticed that even McDonalds is now serving fresh salads?

Furthermore, by purchasing locally grown produce there could be less need for packaging, and therefore less plastic waste that pollutes our land and water. That’s something we as customers need to vocalize to make it happen. Talk to your grocers and ask why local produce is still wrapped in plastic and styrofoam, and demand that these materials be eliminated from the supply chain because they only add waste. Act! Speak up! Make your voice heard! Create Change! It is empowering because once people hear you say something they will chime in and you can create a movement.

While most food consumed in Qatar is still imported, big strides into farming innovation have been made toward food security since the blockade. Surprisingly, a number of new farms have ‘sprouted’ to produce locally grown mushrooms, for instance.

Most imported foods into Qatar travel over 1,000 km to get here! Qatar’s intense heat and harsh climate make agricultural production challenging, however, indoor vertical farming options are available. Traditional farms produce abundant fruit and vegetables especially during the winter and spring seasons. Qatari eggs are very tasty while some imported eggs have added food coloring to make the yoke yellow and healthy-looking. Imported organic eggs are healthier without the food coloring but they may have a larger environmental footprint because of the distance traveled. Look for Qatar-grown produce when you do your grocery shopping.

Further options for buying local are a growing number of Farmers Markets. There are many options for local, organic food in Qatar, even now during the hot summer months. In the winter months, the Katara Farmer’s Market is held during Mahaseel Festival and aims to support and promote the local agriculture and livestock sectors in Qatar. The Ministry of Municipality and Environment just announced the opening of two permanent farmer's markets. Support local food production by visiting these markets.

It may not always be possible to eat local, but committing to simple changes makes a difference to take charge of our health and wellbeing, boost the local economy and thereby reduce our collective carbon footprint!

This challenge contributes to delivering UN Sustainable Development Goals #13 Climate Action, #14 Life Below Water, and #15 Life On Land.

Sources:

University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Ayurvedic Concept of Food and Nutrition, 2006

Extension, Respiration and Ethylene and their Relationship to Postharvest Handling, 5 Mar 2010

McDonalds, Our Commitment to Quality, Accessed 30 Jun 2019

I Love Qatar, Organic Vegetable Farms and Markets in Qatar, 18 Jun 2019

The Peninsula, Two permanent vegetable markets to open soon in Qatar, 17 Jun 2019

UN Sustainable Development Goals, Accessed 30 Jun 2019

Take a photo of your weekly action and post it on social media using hashtags #SustainableQATAR #52Challenges.

About SustainableQATAR

Website: http://www.sustainableqatar.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SustainableQatar/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SustainQatar
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/sustainableqatar/

We know it takes more than a few small personal initiatives to make our planet eco-friendly. But if you can make one lifestyle change each day this coming week, it’s a start! So are you going to participate in this week's challenge? Let us know what you think about SustainableQATAR’s 52 weekly challenges! And also don’t forget to give us a like and a share – you know it keeps us going!

Also read: https://www.iloveqatar.net/news/community/sustainableqatars-weekly-challenge18-food-eat-to-become-a-centenarian