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Mon 18 May 2020 04:11 PM

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The Hero Project: VeggieTech and The Noodle House

Fuelling the UAE's frontline heroes

The Hero Project: VeggieTech and The Noodle House

VeggiTech is an agritech farm it delivers produce with a QR code showing everything from nutritional value to carbon footprint.

In April 2020, Time Out and Arabian Business launched The Hero Project, in a bid to raise the profiles of the thousands of individuals and companies in the UAE making huge efforts to overcome the Covid-19 crisis.

The project allows members of the public to nominate any person, company or organisation in the UAE who they believe deserves recognition during the current pandemic.

VeggieTech and The Noodle House are two of those nominees.

What does a restaurant do when it can't cook or deliver food? It's a question many businesses in the UAE will have asked themselves in the past month or so.

For The Noodle House, the answer was perhaps a surprising one.

Only one of the hoegrown brand's sites was being kept open, a darkkitchen in Barsha South, which has a fleet of 11 delivery bikes.

Sarood Hospitality's director of marketing Niki Walsh was trying to think of how her group (which includes The Noodle House) could help the community when she spoke to Hemant Julka, from farming firm VeggieTech.

Her initial idea was to use the drivers to do errands for people but Julka had another idea.

The farm, in Sharjah, was planning to temporarily close down, but there was still produce available.

The Noodle House had already donated any unused produce from its restaurants to a hospital and Walsh and Julka thought it would be a good idea to do it again. And again. And again.

They created Help Our Heroes out of a desire to help those who are helping everyone else.

As VeggiTech is an agritech farm it delivers produce with a QR code showing everything from nutritional value to carbon footprint. The Noodle House knew it could take care of sanitisation and safe handling of the produce, and with end-to-end transparency of the goods it seemed like a particularly relevant process for the situation we're in.

People who needed help were asked to send a message via The Noodle House's Facebook page and before long there were thousands of requests.

Individual deliveries were being made but once full lockdown was in place attentions turned to hospitals and the ambulance service, where hundreds of boxes could be dropped off at once.

The package contained fresh vegetables such as aubergine, peppers, parsley, kale, and cucumber. The box itself is compostable and came with a handwritten note.

Families in quarantine and other special cases also received boxes.

Walsh says: "Sarood is built on care and doing the right thing is part of our value system so it was an easy thing to mobilise.

"One person who needs to be highlighted is our amazing chef Alannah Doe who suffered a personal tragedy due to COVID-19 but went on to campaign to redress the balance and has worked tirelessly ever since. A hero helping heroes, if you will."

To make a nomination for The Hero Project, click here

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