Expo Farm located in the COP28 Green Zone. Photos: Neeraj Murali.
Do you want to learn more about agriculture and enjoy its products? Then, head to Expo City, which has opened its own farm, explore the world of agriculture and taste the fruits of your knowledge. Championing sustainability and the farm-to-table concept, this unique farm offers visitors the opportunity to witness various farming techniques up close.
According to Matt Brown, Expo City’s head of sustainability, the farm was a result of the organization’s broader goal. “What we’re trying to do is engage on some of the more global issues, like water scarcity and decarbonization,” he said. “This farm emerged from a regenerative agriculture concept and an attempt to improve the circularity of Expo City.”
Below is how the farm is organized:
Outdoor Organic Farm
Completely organic food for humans, fodder and fodder for animals are grown on the farm. Several varieties, such as alfalfa, millet, oats and barley, can be stored and fed to animals. Other varieties offer ground cover and protect the soil from minerals.
The land, cultivated in coordination with Emirates Bio Farm, has different crops in alternating rows as part of biointensive agriculture. This creates natural pest control as companion plants protect each other.
This farm uses biochar, a special organic woody waste that burns without oxygen to retain carbon. It forms a charcoal-like substance that helps soil retain moisture and increase agricultural productivity.
Desert and medicinal plants
Desert plants are grown on the farm because they require much less water. This is because they are adapted to the arid conditions of the country. Medicinal plants and herbs such as cassia italica and lawonia inermis are also grown here.
Here is a popular option for growing in small spaces, indoor hydroponic farming. Using only water, a vertical hydroponic farm kiosk at Expo City Farm is capable of producing 15kg of food all year round. Water is recirculated to reduce water consumption by up to 95%.
Make water from air
The hydroponic room is connected to a system called Air Joule that can extract water from the air. The technology is based on a material called Metal Organic Frameworks (MOF), which absorbs water from the atmosphere and then expels it. The machine runs on solar batteries.
Used coffee grounds from restaurants around Expo City are used to form a soil for fungal germination. Grown in a temperature-controlled enclosure, it produces three different types of mushrooms: lion’s mane, oyster and chestnut.
The farm organizes workshops and cooking classes to introduce people to the plants grown there and educate people on how to use them.
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