The desert makes growing anything — especially food — rather difficult. Or, at least, it used to. A new startup in the United Arab Emirates hopes to reduce some of the food imports to the region, delivering fresher product that’s grown right in the desert town of Dubai.
The UAE currently imports nearly 90 percent of its food, according to recent data. But Saudi Arabian entrepreneur Omar Al Jundi, hopes his first vertical farm in Dubai will decrease some of the region’s import needs as well as contribute to the health of the residents, and decrease the impact on the environment due to transport.
The farm is called Badia Farm — “badia” is Arabic for “oasis” — and, like other urban indoor farms in cities like New York, London, and Chicago, it’s growing a lot of salad greens. Radish, kale, mustard, basil, and arugula all thrive in indoor controlled climate farms. Greens are delicate; transport can often lead to produce arriving wilted and spoiled.
“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,” Al Jundi said.
“The produce will not only be cheaper than imported goods, but fresher too, as the farms will be producing all year round.”