28 November 2016, Muscat: Oman Avenues Mall, one of Muscat’s best-known hotspots for shopping and leisure, has come up with an environment-friendly route to converting food waste into a value-added resource.
Nutrient-rich compost produced from the mall’s organic waste is the secret behind the success of a delightful garden setting that now adorns the spacious outdoor balcony area on the second floor of the mall.
Avenues Children’s Garden, as the new leafy outdoor area is called, complements the equally charming Muscat Garden Center Nursery, where a stunning array of herbaceous perennials also thrive on the home-grown compost. Located side by side, both garden and nursery add a new flavour to the Mall’s diverse shopping, retail and dining offerings.
The twin facilities were formally inaugurated this week at a lively launch event graced by Her Royal Highness Sayyida Dr. Mona bint Fahd bin Mahmood Al Said – Assistant V.C. for International Cooperation –Sultan Qaboos University. High-level officials representing Oman Avenues Mall and ThemarGroup, which owns the Muscat Garden Center Nursery, were in attendance as well.
But underpinning the Avenues Children’s Garden initiative is a strongly environmental and educational theme targeted at school children, according to Mr. Ben Watson, General Manager, Oman Avenues Mall.
“Far more than just a green space, this garden offers a unique opportunity for children to understand the importance of waste minimisation and reuse, as well as learning some simple gardening techniques,” said Mr. Watson.
“Placed within the garden are 30 planter boxes with soil and compost made from a ton of food waste collected from the mall. We have invited school children from a diverse mix of schools around the city to participate in the planting of vegetables, and herbs in their very own planter boxes. Members of the public will be able to visit the garden to check on how the plants adopted by each school are faring,” he explained.
Local schools have responded enthusiastically with a number of groups already visited to plant their seeds. In addition to an introduction on food waste reuse, participating school children can look forward to creative and hands-on fun in growing their own little vegetables within the garden.
Joining hands with Avenues Children’s Garden is the Muscat Garden Center Nursery, together they are giving away a small potted plant and activity book to any child who visits the garden. The gesture, said Dr. Amer Awadh Al Rawas, Founder and Chairman of Themar Group, which runs the nursery, is in line with the Group’s advocacy of environmental sustainability through gardening initiatives.
“We are delighted with this collaborative initiative with Oman Avenues mall to foster a culture of environmental awareness and sustainable gardening and farming practices. This initiative addresses long term social objectives at the grass roots level, with learning and fun memorable experiences,” said Dr. Al Rawas.
“We see ourselves as natural allies brought together by our mutual desire to promote sustainability as an integral part of our corporate philosophy. As an end-user of the compost produced by Oman Avenues Mall from food waste, Muscat Garden Center Nursery is proud to be part of this joint initiative that seeks to drive home the importance of waste minimization and reuse,” Dr Al Rawas added.