Dubai launches first commercial vertical farm venture

Dubai launches first commercial vertical farm venture

Badia Farms, Dubai, Sustainability, Vertical farms

The GCC’s first commercial vertical indoor farm, Badia Farms, has launched in Dubai with ambitious plans to pioneer the future of the region’s agriculture industry, Arabian Business reported.

Using the latest hydroponic technology and vertical farming techniques, the farm produces nutritious and pesticide-free leafy greens without the need for sunlight, soil or chemicals.

Badia Farms has been established by Saudi Arabian entrepreneur Omar Al Jundi and British agricultural expert Grahame Dunling, with a vision to develop sustainable and innovative solutions to growing food.

 By 2030, global food demand is predicted to increase by 50 percent, putting pressure on governments to find a solution that provides food security. The region’s hostile growing environment remains a major barrier to the agriculture industry, resulting in heavy reliance on food imports, with the UAE currently importing more than 80 percent of its food requirements.

Omar Al Jundi, founder and CEO at Badia Farms, said: “Our mission is to provide fresh, nutritious and chemical free produce that is bursting with flavour and grown right here in Dubai. The UAE is one of the most popular places in the world for fine dining and hospitality, yet most of our food is imported, travelling thousands of miles before it reaches our plate.

“Through vertical indoor farming methods we can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint and grow leafy greens that are fresher, tastier and delivered from farm to table within hours.”

The highly controlled environment uses the most advanced hydroponic technology, chemical free nutrient-rich base and bespoke LED lighting system, to create the optimal quality and yield. The sustainable eco-system created at Badia Farms uses 90 percent less water than in open field farming.

Al Jundi added: “As a region that has struggled to grow crops due to largely hostile desert landscapes, our farm offers a viable solution to farming that produces harvests 365 days of the year. Importantly, we are able to do this sustainably, using minimal water that is recycled, maximizing space, and with no chemicals or pesticides.

“Our first crops are leafy greens, but we are already in advanced stages of growing crops of other fresh produce through different farming models. This is the future of farming.”

The farm will produce a range of micro-greens and baby leaf herb varieties which adds complex flavours to salads, main dishes, sandwiches and soups. The micro-greens, including arugula, kale, radish, red cabbage, basils, and mustard, are packed with antioxidants and rich in nutrients.

Earlier this year, in an interview with Fahed Architects, architect Fahed Majeed said that the UAE needs to focus on food security. Read full interview here. 

Creating vertical farms in the Middle East has been a continuous topic over the years, with projects such as design firm Forward Thinking Architecture’s plans (pictured as feature image) for floating farms for countries across the region.

Plans to covert two abandoned high-rise towers in Amman into “sustainable and productive [food] farms was proposed by Jordanian architect Hanna Salameh. The video proposal by Salameh had over 25,000 views on YouTube when the idea was first revealed.

The Mashambas project by Polish urbanists Pawel Lipinski and Mateusz Frankowski won first place at the eVolo skyscraper competition.

The concept of vertical farms was also seen during this year eVolo skyscraper competition, where a skyscraper which aimed at introducing a “green revolution” to people living in sub-Saharan Africa won first place in the competition.

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