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Emirates Is Creating a Massive New Farm for Fresh Airplane Food

Travel + Leisure logo Travel + Leisure 7/19/2018 Stacey Leasca
a person standing in front of a store © Courtesy of Emirates

Dubai is certainly well-known for being an over-the-top travel destination, and with some of the most luxurious hotels, designer clothing stores, and world-class restaurants, it’s more than earned that descriptor. But soon, it may become more famous for its farming.

Emirates Flight Catering, a subsidiary of Emirates Group, announced in June a new partnership with Crop One Holdings. The pair of companies, Gulf News reported, will co-invest $40 million to create an absolutely massive indoor farm in Dubai that will break the vertical farming world record.

a group of colorful flowers © Courtesy of Emirates

The farm, which is set to open next year, will produce the equivalent of 900 acres of fresh food, Gulf News reported. That means it will produce three tons of “high-quality, herbicide-free and pesticide-free leafy greens daily.”

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However, it will produce all this food using far less water than traditional farming, and will also grow produce without soil, sunlight, and chemicals. It will indeed mark a massive step for the United Arab Emirates towards become more self-sustainable. As Gulf News explained, a massive amount of the food consumed in the UAE comes from foreign markets. According to 2015 data, 85 percent of the UAE’s food was imported.

a close up of a green salad © Courtesy of Emirates

“This investment to build and operate the world’s largest vertical farming facility aligns with the UAE’s drive for more agricultural self-sufficiency, a vision which began with the late His Highness Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founding father,” Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group said in an announcement. “The introduction of ground-breaking technology at the facility also enhances Dubai’s position as a global innovation hub.”

According to the announcement, the two companies expect to be delivering their first batch of produce to their customers (which include their 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges) by December of 2019.

GALLERY: 25 Crazy Facts About Airplane Food [The Daily Meal]

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