Sky Kurtz farms within the desert. The co-founder and CEO of Pure Harvest Sensible Farms—positioned exterior Abu Dhabi, the place temperatures frequently prime 113°F—and his staff use the difficult environs to trial new crops and applied sciences which have the potential to vary farming in climate-challenged areas. Pure Harvest additionally gives produce to supermarkets and eating places in Dubai and throughout the area utilizing much less water, which is necessary in one of the crucial arid areas of the world.
Kurtz based Pure Harvest Sensible Farms in 2017 together with his co-founders Mahmoud Adi and Robert Kupstas. Keen about meals insecurity, they spent the primary 12 months learning high-tech meals–manufacturing methods world wide, in addition to looking for the optimum website for his or her first farm.
Sky Kurtz of Pure Harvest Sensible Farms
Natalie Naccache for TIME
Kurtz’s farms within the UAE began out with “nothing however a PowerPoint, a pile of grime, and the promise of what we might do,” says Kurtz. However Pure Harvest rapidly proved it was constructed on greater than a promise. The founders’ analysis and technological innovation led to the event of a proprietary Managed–Setting Agriculture (CEA) system—a mix of high-tech greenhouses and vertical farms that gives a secure year-round local weather. The primary crop of tomatoes was planted in August 2018 and harvested in October. The corporate’s unique farm is now its R&D facility, and Pure Harvest has expanded its amenities within the UAE to 16 hectares of rising space. It additionally operates a 6-hectare farm in Saudi Arabia, and is creating a 6-hectare farm in Kuwait.
It now produces 14 sorts of leafy greens; two sorts of strawberries, with seven extra being developed; and virtually 30 sorts of tomatoes, the product that began all of it. With restricted availability of native, seasonal produce, the UAE has sometimes imported a lot of its meals, typically air-freighted, which comes at a excessive price, each economically and environmentally. And whereas they’re costlier in contrast with regionally grown seasonal produce, the corporate says its fruit and greens are sometimes as much as 60% cheaper than air-freighted imports of comparable high quality. “I feel we’ve essentially modified a perception system that mentioned native is worse,” says Kurtz.
Their imaginative and prescient matches in with a wider objective for Dubai to develop into extra self-sufficient, and so they have a want to make use of their R&D to assist deal with the impacts local weather change is already having on the meals trade within the Gulf area and farther afield. The main target is not only on rising for premium markets but in addition creating reasonably priced options to assist democratize entry to contemporary meals.
Kurtz hopes the corporate’s data-driven expertise can develop into a mannequin for different areas which are experiencing local weather stress. “We imagine that we will develop a local-for-local resolution the place it’s wanted most, and we’ve battle-tested that functionality in one of many harshest environments on the planet,” he says.
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