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Illustration by Rohan Joseph Sabu

Biggest Experimental Vertical Farm in the World Opens in Abu Dhabi

Aerofarms opened the largest facility in the world for research on vertical indoor farming on Feb. 15 in Abu Dhabi, in correspondence with the sustainable development goals of the UAE.

Mar 6, 2023

The American agriculture technology company AeroFarms opened a new facility in Abu Dhabi for indoor vertical farming. The AD farm is the biggest of its kind in the world, spanning over 65,000 square feet. The facility is both a farm for greens grown in a special environment, and a main research and development center for AeroFarms’ global sites. Equipped with state of the art laboratories, the farm employs specialists from across several disciplines, including engineering, horticulture, biochemistry, and data analysis among others.
The project is supported by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO). The local news agency WAM shares the remarks of Abdulla Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi, Acting Director-General of ADIO, who outlines that the mission of the Office is focused on supporting innovation and development of the business ecosystem of the UAE. “We’re excited for AeroFarms to start the next phase of its journey and contribute to solving global agriculture challenges from its advanced facility in the UAE capital,” commented Al Shamsi.
AeroFarms’ original facilities are based in Newark, New Jersey, in the U.S. Abu Dhabi was chosen as the location for their new research center because of the desert environment, which provides both a challenge for fostering sustainable agriculture and opportunities for developing innovative practices in the field. Overcoming the harsh arid environment in the region and creating resilient practices and technology for vertical farming in these conditions would prove to be a huge leap forward for the agricultural sector. As of now, the facility will start experiments with greens — such as, arugula, spinach and kale — similar to the other centers of AeroFarms, but the plan for the Abu Dhabi site is to find ways to expand the produce to fruits and vegetables by genetically improving the resilience of the plants.
The establishment of this facility also comes with the promise of collaborating with local educational and research institutions, as well as other key strategic partners from the innovative agriculture sector. Among the experts already working on site are both local and international specialists, and the team is expected to continue expanding. The project is in tune with the UAE’s goals for sustainable development.
The facility was unveiled as part of the AeroFarms second Annual AgTech Innovation Summit, which brought together over 1000 participants from 65 countries to present their work on agriculture technology between Feb. 15 and Feb. 17. This year, NYU Abu Dhabi Dean of Science Marta Losada was part of the signing ceremony, solidifying the collaboration between NYUAD, AeroFarms and ADIO. “This collaboration will allow us to explore the potential of indoor vertical farming and its ability to meet the needs of populations around the world,” said Dean Losada in front of the guests at the Summit.
Yana Peeva is Senior Columns Editor. Email her at
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