If you’ve ever wondered what an organic farm in Saudi Arabia looks like, now’s your chance!
Even before I was born, over a quarter of a century ago to be precise, a young Saudi man decided that he was fed up of not finding high quality, nutritious and organic food in the region. He searched high and low…from Makkah to Eastern Province, from Jouf to Asir and even Central Province, just in case there was a lonely desert farmer he could purchase from. But alas…twas to no avail.
He thought about leaving Saudi Arabia. Egypt seemed like a good option. Yet the thought of leaving his country behind, just so he could get organic food, was not something he was happy with. He thought and thought on what to do.
Then, as if it was planned for him, he received his inheritance. It was not much, just one acre of land in the north of Saudi Arabia. He began researching and learning, trying to figure out what would be the best crops for his little piece of land. Soon he started planting, and season after season, his crop yields were successful and steadily increasing. There was just one problem…he found that the more he produced, the more people wanted his produce. He thought it was phenomenal at how word of mouth could create such high demand.
This inheritance had a catalytic effect that today he and I are ever so grateful for! Gradually, he began to slowly buy more land and started producing even more food. Today, he has three farms, making him one of the most experienced and oldest established organic farms in Saudi Arabia.
Despite his achievements, he is ever so humble. Shunning most media, he was hesitant for me to even mention his story! He cares for no titles or personal awards. As he simply says, “I farm not for my ego, but because I want to eat organic food. I believe it is the best, and people everywhere are slowly starting to realise this too.”
So ladies and gentleman, without further ado, please enjoy some of the pictures of one his farms. I really hope this will give you an insight to what farming in Saudi Arabia is like. The farm’s certification comes from Europe, who carry out random checks throughout the year, ensuring that there’s no presence of chemicals or pesticides. I have to mention this point, as I understand that a few people believe the organic produce in Saudi is “fake.”
Now a special mention goes to all the employees who are responsible for the sowing, planting and picking of the vegetables. The farm pictured below has 40 employees, a mixture of Egyptian, Sudanese and Bangladeshi labourers. Put some of these workers anywhere else, imagine the chaos and disagreements that would occur. However, these employees are the happiest workers that I have ever come across, anywhere in the world! They live in very simple housing on the farm grounds, but this does not bother them. They are over one hour from the nearest town, but even then, they still love their life at the farm. To tell you how far away this place is from neighbours, just imagine that the prayer call does not reach this area. We questioned them to see if they received a job offer paying 10 times their current salary, would they consider a move to Riyadh. Some hesitated, but the general answer was a stern “No.” Such loyalty to their job and their boss is hard to come across anywhere.
Thinking of the Five Element Theory, you will notice that all five elements are present on the farm, which of course keeps them balanced. There is the water energy in the form of the property’s river, tree energy comes from all the trees and plants they grow, and the sun provides the fire energy, shining 365 days a year. The soil energy is present from all of the physical contact with the soil that a farm requires, and there is metal energy from all the animals present.
This farm is an amazing place! My pictures do not do it justice! Thank you to all the wonderful people who made this visit possible. This will certainly be one of those memories that will forever be cherished.