The Netherlands Pavilion has proposed that combining urban and food-producing spaces can improve food security, reflecting Expo 2020 Dubai’s vision of finding sustainable solutions for future cities. During a bloggers’ event ‘Straight From the Farm’ held on Wednesday, which coincided with Expo 2020’s Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods week, the pavilion guided through its self-sustaining design, vertical farm and mushroom nursery to demonstrate the possibilities of what can be grown sustainably in small urban spaces.
Operating as a self-sufficient micro-city, the Netherlands Pavilion has been designed to harvest and produce its own water, energy, and consequently, food, in a circulatory system. Described by the pavilion’s Commissioner General, His Excellency Carel Richter as a “biotope”, the pavilion has been constructed with 2000 tonnes of reused and reusable steel, and has the capacity to extract 1,200 litres of water from the outside air using SunGlacier technology, as well as generate solar energy from external panels designed by Marjan Van Aubel. The water and energy are used to feed and support the stunning, 18m conical vertical farm located in the heart of the pavilion. “Food security is a key topic that needs to be addressed worldwide. Not just in the Gulf region. Food security can only be achieved through a strong partnership between governments, businesses, research institutions, and citizens. We need to show how collaboration between them is vital for constant evolution and continuous innovations. Together, we can make significant steps towards more sustainable food production worldwide. The Netherlands Pavilion is a great platform for connection and is brimming with sustainable solutions that showcases its theme of uniting water, energy and food. ’’ adds in Erik Smidt, Netherlands’ Agricultural Counsellor assigned to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman & Bahrain.
Arguing the case for green, food-producing belts in urban areas, Meiny Prins, Expo Champion for the Netherlands Pavilion and CEO of Priva commented: “Our goal is to be part of the circular economy. To be part of the cities of the future, where the circular economy is based on green tech and smart buildings, and we really need to because we are not currently going in the right direction.”
Prins went on to suggest that some of the major issues that need to be tackled to help improve future food security include engaging the next generation of farmers, tackling food waste, changing to grow food for nutritional value instead of profit and volume, and a shift towards “true pricing” for imported fresh produce with high carbon footprints.
The exclusive tour in the mushroom nursery was very insightful for the bloggers as it demonstrated various stages of the growth the organic oyster mushrooms in-house. These mushrooms are then showcased in the interiors of the massive green cone. The pavilion also has bio-based floor tiles and acoustic wall modules, produced using mycelium, the vegetative part of mushrooms. The use of these innovatively circular materials demonstrates the unprecedented opportunities that emerge when committed to partnering with nature.
Later, the bloggers had an unforgettable and impactful experience during The Future Food City dining experience. A multi sensorial and impactful experience where creativity, water, energy, food, future thinking and architecture all blend together into an unforgettable moment in space and time. The dining experience tells the story about a city in 200 years from now where everything worked out. Humankind found the perfect way to thrive and live in a city that is hyperlocal, sustainable and biodiversity is key. Bloggers got an extraordinary chance to live in this city for a short moment and find out what the food of the future will taste like. During the experience, a story was narrated that is connected with the special ingredients that are being served on the table, a maquette version of the Future Food City. The unique experience is managed by Van Der Linde, official catering and event management provider of the pavilion.
At the end of the tour, food & lifestyle bloggers Aida Al Busaidy (@aidaalbusaidy, @EatAtExpo2020), Rubeen Rashik (@dubaicravings), Diana Zavzeatii (@BusyAvocado) and Naina Shakeb (@Naina at Cooking) took away with them the best memories from one the most sustainable pavilions of Expo 2020 Dubai – The Netherlands Pavilion!