The United Arab Emirates has an arid, desert climate, and therefore, this region imports about 85 percent of its fresh produce. To increase food security and sovereignty in this region, Crop One, a vertical farm company, and Emirates Flight Catering partnered to open the world’s largest vertical farm for growing fresh leafy greens.
Officially opened today, the 330,000 square-foot facility (called ECO 1) is capable of producing over two million pounds of leafy greens per year. The farm uses AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning, and data analytics to grow a continuous supply of leafy greens without chemicals and considerably less water. The leafy greens are always grown without pesticides or herbicides (and also require no pre-washing), and use 95 percent less water than field-grown crops.
Consumers local to the United Arab Emirates area should be able to purchase the ECO 1 leafy greens (which will include lettuce, arugula, mixed salad greens, and spinach) on store shelves this month under the Bustanica brand. Airline passengers on Emirates and other airlines will also be able to eat the greens onboard their flights starting this month.