Soneva Namoona launches online course on tropical organic gardening

Soneva has launched an online course aimed at teaching people how to grow food in a tropical country like the Maldives.

The Tropical Organic Gardening course is a perfect beginner’s guide on how to grow food, whether it is on a small balcony in capital Male, in a back garden, or on a bigger sized plot of land.

The 10 episodes in the course, filmed at Soneva Fushi in Baa atoll, cover topics from preparing a growing space, planting, maintenance and harvesting, with additional episodes focused on enhancing the quality of vegetables.

The tutorial seeks to help anyone, who may be self-isolating because of the coronavirus, grow nutritious vegetables at home, while also learning to make compost. Each of the videos is hosted by Justin Robertshaw, Soneva’s Waste-to-Wealth Manager.

The tutorials are part of the Soneva Namoona project, which is a partnership between Soneva, the islands of Maalhos, Kihaadhoo and Dharavandhoo, and international organisation Commons Seas.

“I hope this timely online tutorial results in more healthy, nutritious food being grown locally in the Maldives,” Sonu Shivdasani, Soneva’s CEO and Co-Founder, was quoted in a statement, as saying.

“The Soneva Namoona partnership aims to help island communities become exemplary in waste management, reducing single-use plastics, and fostering a love for the environment.”

The course was released on Soneva Namoona social media platforms Sunday. Viewers will be able to send in questions directly to the gardening team at Soneva Fushi via Facebook and Instagram.

All the methods and techniques covered in the episodes draw from the expertise of Soneva’s hosts and existing practices from the organic gardens at Soneva Fushi.

“Growing your own food is the best way to ensure you’re eating the most organic, freshest and nutritious food – it’s also fun and a good way to relax, slow down and connect with nature. That makes it healthy, both inside and out. With the Covid-19 pandemic, taking better care of your health has become even more of a priority for many people,” Justin Robertshaw, Soneva Fushi’s Waste-to-Wealth Manager, said.

“At Soneva, we have developed tried and tested permaculture techniques for growing in a tropical climate that we want to share with our local communities. These techniques will also help beginner gardeners all around the world, whether you have access to a garden space or a simple balcony.”

Soneva Namoona is an initiative inspired by the Soneva philosophy that waste is a valuable asset. Namoona meaning ‘exemplary’ in Dhivehi is the aim for this partnership with local islands.

The initiative is a partnership between three local islands (Maalhos, Dharavandhoo and Kihaadhoo), Soneva and marine plastic foundation Common Seas to create a prototype that could reimagine waste management in the Maldives: Reduce, Recycle, Inspire.

At the heart of the initiative is a radical reduction in the volume of plastic arriving on the islands. Soneva assisted the council of Maalhos to establish a water bottling plant that desalinates and mineralises sea water before bottling it in reusable glass bottles, using the same system as the water served to guests at Soneva resorts.

Recycling and responsible disposal of waste forms the second strand of the programme. Soneva recycles or reuses 90 per cent of resort waste at their Eco-Centro waste management centres. Maalhos is the first island to open a Soneva-sponsored Eco Centro with upgraded machinery that will include a wood chipper and a glass crusher.

The third component is to inspire a love of the ocean and the local environment. The belief is that through water sports, education and festivities that children will lose their fear of the ocean and learn to love it. If they love it, they are more likely to protect it. With a nod to both the inspiration of teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and the response to plastic waste from the global surfing community, Soneva is nurturing a new generation of ocean stewards.

Soneva currently runs two resorts in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani, and luxury yacht, Soneva in Aqua. The world-leading luxury resort operator also operates Soneva Kiri resort in Thailand.

Soneva Fushi inspires the imagination with 63 spacious beachfront villas, ranging in size from one- to nine-bedrooms, hidden among dense foliage and located within the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Watch classic movies at the resort’s outdoor Cinema Paradiso. Choose from nine different dining options, five hundred wines and 11 types of pillow. Unwind at the on-site Six Senses Spa. Nature’s resources are transformed into art at the Glass Studio, while The Den gives children the freedom to live their island dream. Glorious days are spent star-gazing at the Observatory, sampling organic delicacies and exploring the coral reef.

Inspired by a word that means ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit, Soneva Jani is located on a collection of five islands, and a beautiful, 5.6km lagoon.

The resort currently comprises 24 overwater villas and three island villas, with additional villas to be built in Chapter 2. Each Water Villa opens to its own stretch of sparkling lagoon and is complete with a private pool and a retractable roof to stargaze from the master bedroom, while many villas also have slides from the top deck into the water below.

Explore the glimmering galaxies from the resort’s state-of-the-art observatory or spend time indulging in a range of activities including water sports, scuba diving, wellness therapies, dolphin cruises and bicycling along the island’s many trails.

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