COP28: New farm for desert crops to open to all at Expo City Dubai

It is one of the attractions that UAE residents can visit during COP28 and a venue where they can make a pledge to help save the planet


Angel Tesorero

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Photo by Neeraj Murali
Photo by Neeraj Murali

Published: Tue 14 Nov 2023, 5:19 PM

Last updated: Tue 14 Nov 2023, 8:14 PM

When COP28 opens, the public will get to see firsthand how fruits and vegetables are grown in the desert — with a new farm that has been built at Expo City Dubai (ECD).

Called Expo City Farm, these indoor and outdoor spaces will be teeming with climate-resilient crops in time for COP28 and remain as a permanent fixture in the Expo community.

It is open to the public for free and is one of the attractions for UAE residents and visitors to come to COP28 and actively make a pledge to the planet. COP28 or the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is happening from November 30 to December 12.

During the global climate summit, the farm will host community workshops and cooking classes with sustainability-minded chefs and professionals.

Speaking to Khaleej Times after a media briefing on Tuesday, Marjan Faraidooni, chief of education and culture for ECD, said: “COP28 is a major international climate event and we have Green Zone where families and the general public can be part of COP28."

“We call on them to take a pledge for people and planet – what they can do to make this planet better,” she underlined.

Two zones

COP28 is divided into two zones. The Green Zone is an open space for the public to promote dialogue and awareness around climate action. The Blue Zone, meanwhile, is reserved for world leaders, government delegations, and those accredited with the United Nations body tasked with coordinating the global response to the threat of climate change.

Faraidooni said: “ECD will welcome visitors for an exciting programme of activities for the COP28 climate summit, with events spanning musicals and art exhibitions to captivating discussions and ‘green’ farming and dining taking place as part of the Green Zone — a space open to all members of the public to engage in climate education and action.”

Access to Expo City Dubai’s pavilions and attractions in the Green Zone which will be open to the public from December 3 to 12 is free during COP28 — with additional registration or ticketing requirements indicated for specific events. Visitors should register for a dated Green Zone Day Pass at


From coffee to mushrooms

Matt Brown, chief – sustainability at ECD, said Expo City Farm will put the spotlight on regenerative agriculture or the process of rotating crops to improve biodiversity. “Ten value crops will be cultivated at Expo City Farm and we will also showcase indoor or vertical farming to produce micro-greens and edible flowers.”

Another food source grown at Expo City Farm are mushrooms grown on coffee ground, which is actually packed with nutrients. Brown said the same waste coffee granules consumed at Expo City will be used to grow “different shapes and shades of mushrooms".

Expo City Farm will also highlight the technology of producing water from air moisture, as well as BioChar or the use of carbon dioxide-absorbing sustainable charcoal.

Best practices in action

The iconic Terra Pavilion will highlight sustainable best practices in action. There will be sustainability-focused programming for families and youth.

A new addition for the duration of COP28 is the Expo City Dubai Pavilion which will be a focal point for those who wish to learn about the city as a blueprint for sustainable living. ECD Pavilion will have interactive events around climate change through the lens of gender equality, global leadership, the private sector, and more.

Alif – The Mobility Pavilion, the Vision Pavilion, and the Women’s Pavilion will also be part of the Green Zone, as well as the immersive Al Wasl dome, the Surreal water feature and Al Forsan Park.


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