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Nazwa Organic Farm Shop closes down

July 31, 2010
Nazwa organic farm shop

Nazwa Organic Farm Shop

I have championed the Nazwa Organic Farm shop and vegetable box scheme since I heard the first rumour about it and know from the speed that the shelves emptied that many, many people in Dubai welcomed this unique and valuable addition to our shopping choices.  It was with great sadness I read this e-mail I received today and because I know that a lot of people reach this site looking for Nazwa information, reproduce it here in full:

Dear Customers,
It is with great sadness that I compose this message to you. Over the last few weeks I have fought to keep the deliveries and retail outlet alive.  I am very sorry to inform you that the farm owner has decided to shut down operations at the farm and closed both the retail outlet and deliveries.  The majority of staff have been let go without notice.
These steps were taken shortly after I left the country to go on leave.  The reasons behind these decisions and the owners future intentions are best known only to him.
Considering the work that the team have put in over the last year, I find it hard to put into words how devastated we all are at this point.
I would like to ask anyone who knows of any potential vacancies for our wonderful shop staff to please contact me by e-mail at elenakinane at googlemail.com
I would also like to apologise to all of you who have been waiting for deliveries or have visited the shop over the last few days.  Up until now I have been unable to get in touch with all of you.
Finally, I would like to share with you that it was my wish to be able to supply our community with affordable, fresh organic fruit and vegetables.  We had great plans for the future but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be this time around.  Right now I can only hope to be able to achieve this by other means sometime in the future.

Thank you for all your encouragement and support.
Very best regards
Elena Kinane

orange peppers

Organic peppers

This is a black day indeed.  I felt that the success and vision of this farm was a really positive step in Dubai where not all the news is so enlightened or uplifting.  Elena’s enthusiasm and eye for detail as well as 100% commitment to her principles shone through.  Surely this is a business model that makes sense and a large consumer base ready and waiting.  There is a big demand for the local free range organic eggs that were always sold out and if someone who has the means and commitment is reading this, please consider local, free-range organic poultry as your next venture.  Replace one of the sinister looking sheds that boast a chicken logo with some happy hens and the will fly out to customers (sorry for the pun).

So it’s back to buying a patchy and often expensive array of imported organic fruit and veg.  I’m sure I’m not the only one that refuses to buy apples from the US GM and intense farming monster at a ridiculous price and prohibitive food miles.

If anyone hears any more about the closure please share it in the comments section.  I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing Elena and her team well and saying farewell with utmost sadness.  You were a bright spot in the lives of everyone in Dubai who wants to feed themselves and their families good, fresh affordable food with a sound provenance.

beef tomatoes

Beef tomatoes

Fennel on shelves

Frondy fennel in front of print lined walls

The shop counter

Herbs frame the counter

Postscript: There was a piece about the closure of Nazwa and organic farms in the UAE in The National on 7th August 2010 read here.

18 Comments
  1. shar dean permalink
    August 3, 2010 8:51 pm

    I wonder if there is any use in creating a letter to pass on to the owner requesting its reinstatement? Tis very very sad.

    • August 4, 2010 1:06 pm

      I would be happy to sign any petition or letter but feel a sense of inevitability about it. Elena seemed very determined and was very hard working and if she failed….

  2. September 7, 2010 5:01 pm

    Hi Sally,
    I really like your blog – it’s wonderful to get an insight into life in your part of the world. I can imagine how you must feel about this shop closing down. I have lived in some fairly remote spots for much of my life and know all about returning with heaving suitcases of foods you can’t get hold of easily – or at all! Take care, P.

    • September 7, 2010 7:56 pm

      Thank you P for your kind comment. It’s lovely to unpack goodies when you return home and mine are mainly edible. I hope the Dubai customs never investigate the amount of cheese in my suitcase. I am in awe of your fabulous photography btw – your pictures have the power to transport.

  3. September 14, 2010 3:37 pm

    Very sad! Just moved back to Dubai after more than a year away and was thrilled to hear about Nazwa farm. This is just the kind of thing the UAE needs. I hope someone else with Elana’s vision, determination and love comes along to bring us whole, clean, affordable and easily available beautiful organic produce.

    The pictures convey a wonderful place to shop, filled with thought and heart.

    Thanks for covering this!

    • September 14, 2010 5:11 pm

      It is very sad Hebatallah – and you are right about it having vision, thought and heart. Thanks for the comment.

  4. January 10, 2012 2:14 pm

    Organic farming is very expensive and challegable job. Owner could be bankrupt or invest own capital.

    Per SQ meter yield is very less compaire to other type of farming. 40-45kg or more can achieve in many greenhouse project in ME; where as organic farming w/out synthetic fertilizer or pesticide is expensive

    • January 11, 2012 9:43 am

      It’s true that there are challenges and I appreciate your comment. I personally believe the true cost to our environment and health are not counted with chemical based farming. I’m glad to see that many farmers in the UAE are trying to achieve their crop using organic methods, despite the considerable challenges – and this is being welcomed by customers (who will pay more for it).

  5. January 15, 2012 8:29 pm

    Just visited Dubai and was happy to see organic veggies at one of the malls. As an organic farmer in the US I can testify to the difficulty of making a living farming organically. If there are enough dedicated people you might be able to help establish an organic farm through establishing your own CSA. My dream is to one day establish an organic farm in the Arab world.

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