Last year’s winning of the Zayed Sustainability Prize thrust ASD into the sustainability limelight and provides us with opportunities to engage with the wider community. One such opportunity was a recent visit by four ASD culinary-inclined students to visit and participate in the Zayed Sustainability Prize jury luncheon. While there they presented our school’s work to a number of dignitaries, where they caught the attention of the UAE Minister of State for Food Security, Her Excellency Mariam Al Mheiri.
Her Excellency at the time promised to come and visit ASD and take a look at our Edible Education program. True to her word this past Monday Her Excellency made a morning visit to our campus to take a look at the programs we offer specifically related to food production, preparation, consumption and composting. She was welcomed by Dr. Richards, Dr. Berg, several members of the Board of Trustees and staff members involved in nutritional health, service learning, sustainability and global citizenship programs as well as our friends from the Beekeepers Foundation. Her visit included a tour of the Sustainable Garden, the Kitchen Classroom, the Bee Garden and the Industrial Composter. During her visit she heard from a number of our students highlight their engagement in edible education in K1 (composting), ES (Bee Garden and honey extraction), MS (Food Revolution) and HS (Global Issues in Action and food waste data collection), in addition to the sustainability initiatives and plans that we have for the future!
During her visit she asked many questions related to how we engage students in learning and spoke about the relative novelty of educating students within the curriculum rather than relying solely on extra-curricular activities. She also shared some new ideas related to the Food Security Office's plans to bring the conversation of food security to schools. We’ve agreed to provide feedback on the plans Her Excellency’s office has with regard to educating the UAE-wide community about food-related issues. Her kind nature, her welcoming approach in interacting with our students endeared her to our community and, of course, we look forward to potential future collaboration with the Food Security Office and especially with the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture with which we’ve already begun conversations!