Etihad Airways will soon start serving organic food in its first class cabins. The Abu Dhabi based carrier has announced a partnership with Abu Dhabi Organic Farms (pictured) to source organic ingredients for its first class dining menus.

The announcement is a significant step as Middle East countries like the United Arab Emirates work to ensure their food security and residents demand more local and organic options.

Abu Dhabi Organics Farms, a veteran of the UAE’s organic farming industry, is a natural choice for Etihad. Founded in 1997 by Khalid Al Shamsi, an Emirati organic food advocate, the 55 hectare site showcases both greenhouses and open fields. Fruits, vegetables and livestock from camels to chickens are all part of this farm less than 10 miles from Abu Dhabi International Airport. The farm is also a valuable educational tool for its hosting of schoolchildren who in turn learn about how food is grown. Certified organic in 2007, the farm also uses more sustainable techniques like drip irrigation to save water.

Now Abu Dhabi Organics Farms will have an opportunity to educate those children’s parents, too. Thanks to this agreement with Etihad, the organic and local farm movements have an opportunity to reach more consumers--especially after this program is rolled out to the coach class cabins. Count Mr. Al Shamsi as another sustainability thought leader and food hero along with the Green Sheikh. And if inflight and airport meals improve over all, that is a bonus from which we will all benefit.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.