The Halophytic Kitchen Lab Program aims to raise public awareness about the health and other benefits of salt-loving plants such as Salicornia, which are also called halophytes. Halophytes (a Greek compound word: halo for salt and phyte for plant) are highly salt-tolerant plants that thrive in desert environments. They can be grown with saline water resources such as saline groundwater, seawater, reject brine from desalination and aquaculture effluents. As they do not require fertile soil or fresh water, they show promise for unconventional agriculture in marginal environments. They are fit for human and animal consumption and biofuel production. They can also be used for phytoremediation and medicinal and industrial purposes. Belonging to the family of halophytes, Salicornia bigelovii is one such crop that can be used as food, feed and biofuel.
The Halophytic Kitchen Lab Program is one of the activities under the EXPO LIVE project Phase II: “From desert farm to fork: Value chain development for innovative halophyte-based food products” funded by Expo 2020 Dubai’s Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Program.
Under this project, Salicornia and other halophytic crops are currently being cultivated on eight farms in the UAE for the very first time applying intermediate upscaling methodologies. The Salicornia produce from the farms will be made into innovative food products and marketed locally at the initial stage.
The Halophytic Kitchen Lab Program will work to inform different groups of society, specifically youth, about the health and other benefits of halophytic plants. It will share tips and recipes for halophytic dishes that can be prepared at home.
- Hear a presentation on food security challenges and the importance of halophytic food products.
- Tour ICBA fields to see halophytic plants.
- Hear a presentation by nutritionist Yasmin Haddad on the nutritional benefits of halophytic foods along with tips on healthy and sustainable food choices.
- Cook a personal meal using halophytic plants with Chef Bilal Hassan.
- Take halophytic plants and products home.
- Food and nutrition security
- Climate-smart and nutrient-dense saline farming
- Salinization issues
- Marginal environments
- Halophytic and salt-tolerant plants
- Health and nutrition
- Art of cooking
- 100 AED for students
- 120 AED for adults