Saudi Arabian prince to open vegan restaurants across the region in healthy lifestyle push

Prince Khaled has invested in Matthew Kenney’s vegan lifestyle company, and took the brand international by opening the first vegan restaurant in the Middle East with Bahrain’s new Plant Cafe. (Courtesy Plant Cafe)
Updated 29 January 2018

Saudi Arabian prince to open vegan restaurants across the region in healthy lifestyle push

DUBAI: The son of billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal has announced plans to open a series of vegan restaurants across the Middle East, as he tries to encourage the region’s population to move away from ‘conventional diets’ and live a healthier lifestyle.
Prince Khaled laid out his plans on his Facebook account to open a minimum of 10 vegan restaurants in the Middle East by 2020.
“Our region occupies parts of the top ten most obese counties in the world. This is crazy and frankly a joke we have reached this level,” he explained.
Among the locations favored by the health buff Prince Khaled, who was recently named as president of the Saudi CrossFit Federation, include the UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
And the Prince said the restaurants were not the answer to region’s health complaints, but just the beginning.
“I’m not saying opening 10 restaurants will solve this issue, but you better believe it’s a step in the right direction,” he said.
Prince Khaled was named among the world’s top influencers toward veganism in 2017 for his investments in Matthew Kenney’s vegan lifestyle company. He took the brand international by opening the first vegan restaurant in the Middle East with Bahrain’s new Plant Cafe.
Commenting on his Facebook page about the current diets of people in the region, Prince Khaled said the side effects “on states and society, economic, social, and health,” were disasters “that must be fought.”
“We have to boycott fast food restaurants and focus on our health and our children’s health before this disaster increases,” he said.


Small spaces, big dreams: UAE foodie turns balcony into farm

Updated 21 September 2020

Small spaces, big dreams: UAE foodie turns balcony into farm

MUMBAI: An organic farm started by Sharjah-based Professor Anu Ranade has become a testbed to examine different plants and how they react to severe weather conditions in the UAE — and the green-fingered faculty member has even taken to feeding friends and neighbors with her home-grown goods.

Ranade has grown and harvested more than 40 varieties of tomatoes, in addition to numerous crops in the community farming area, such as cabbage, ginger, mustard, turmeric and mangoes to name a few.

Her farming story began in 2009, when she started missing her hometown and the joys of gardening due to the lack of outdoor space in her apartment in Ajman.

Sharjah-based Professor's farming story started in 2009. Supplied

Not one to be held back, she set out to find ways to pursue gardening in complex settings and weather conditions. She built a small oasis using containers, trellises, vertical and railing planters and started growing plants such as aloe vera, tomatoes, curry leaves, mint, Indian basil and string beans on her balcony.

After landing a job as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sharjah, she moved to a new apartment in Sharjah with enough balcony space to grow a number of plants.

Not one to be held back, she set out to find ways to pursue gardening in complex settings and weather conditions. Supplied

“I started growing several more kinds of vegetables and fruit on the balcony that even inspired my neighbors and friends. In 2019, I grew eight different varieties of tomatoes in the balcony, which yielded more than 20 kg. What started as a hobby slowly turned into an obsession and inspired me to try my hands-on terrace gardening. Luckily, my husband is also extremely passionate about gardening. Together as a team, we used all the extra space available on the terrace of our apartment above the 21st floor.”

She built a small oasis using containers, trellises, vertical and railing planters. Supplied

They recycled wooden planks, car tires, refrigerator racks and milk cans and created raised beds to grow more than 50 different types of nutritious fruits and veggies, some of which you may not even see in a local grocery store.

Last summer, the Department of Sustainability at the University of Sharjah offered to support her by building a 225 square meter plot in addition to allowing some open space inside the campus for community farming.

The Department of Sustainability at the University of Sharjah offered to support her. Supplied

A small part of the harvest that is unsuitable for consumption always goes to composting, as the couple actively follow a zero food waste at home rule. She has also set up a community composting center at the College of Medicine where she is currently working, “In eight months, I have produced more than 700kg of compost and fed it to my plants. Otherwise, all of this kitchen waste would simply end up in the landfill,” Ranade said.