national geographic PROPOSAL



This project is the summary of our work to date. Our accumulated experiences through out the Middle East and South Asia, along with our fascination with the transformative power of technology have created a world view we can't help but share. The seemingly opposite movements toward globalization and localization form a compelling storytelling landscape. Our planet is teeming with stories of inspiration, human connectedness and shared experience.

The One Acre Project is a flagship branding and communications concept, designed to introduce a revolutionary sustainability initiative and create the compelling media content around it to spark transformational change in the future of food.


The Transformative Power of Technology

Years of work in CSR, along with our own fascination with new technology has led us to notice the gap between innovation and application of technology in the field.  This project aims to bring existing technology out into the world, and document what happens in communities and industries as change takes hold.

VIDEO: 3D Energy

VIDEO: The Boat School

VIDEO: Connected

VIDEO: Class of 2020 Canada


A mechanism for global change

Built entirely inside a shipping container, Freight Farms are outfitted with all the tools needed for high-volume, consistent harvests.  With innovative climate technology and growing equipment, the perfect environment is achievable 365 days a year, regardless of geographic location.

Each Freight Farm comes equipped to handle every aspect of commercial production, from seed to harvest.

The fresh produce from the container farm uses less than 5% of water used in traditional farming, while monitored air quality and herbicide/pesticide free environments create safe, healthy food.  No arable land is required.  

The farm's 4g hotspot allows users to stay connected to their operation 24/7. It is also a platform for farmers to connect with each other, sharing knowledge and ideas across continents.

The spin off benefits are seemingly immeasurable, but the immediate benefits include the following points:

  • 95% reduction in agricultural water usage
  • eliminating the use of toxic pesticides and herbicides
  • extremely fast return on investment - first crops are ready within 6 weeks
  • scalable and sustainable economic development model
  • connectivity and education - an opportunity to engage in global tech movement 

VIDEO: Freight Farms

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Growing Local Roots

establishing a home base

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The GCC region is one of the least hospitable environments for agriculture on the planet. Vast deserts and extreme temperatures make growing vegetables in a traditional setting nearly impossible.  With virtually zero viable farmland in the region, access to fresh vegetables is dependent on a consumption-heavy system of transport, import and food storage.  As a result, consumers pay extremely high prices for imported produce, which is often lacking in freshness and quality.  

Creating food security is a paramount objective for a sustainable UAE.  


The One Acre Project will be based at a host school with a focus on the graduating class of 2020.  The 5 year program will educate a generation of resourced change-makers who will present their extensive knowledge in food security to a truly global audience at Expo 2020 Dubai.


  1. To establish Emirati and international youth from Dubai as knowledgeable experts in the future of global food supply
  2. To introduce a cutting edge sustainable agricultural and communications technology program to the host school
  3. To positively impact youth nutrition and access to fresh food choices in the UAE and beyond
  4. To create a base to bring together a global network of farmers 

The One Acre Project will have 2 Freight Farms set up at the host school. The farms will be run by the class of 2020 and the program will be integrated into their health, science, technology and business curriculums.

Unit 1 will be focused on growing produce to contribute to the nutrition of school lunch programs. The long term nature of the program allows for sustainable change in food habits by directly addressing the growing concerns of youth obesity and diabetes. 

Unit 2 will be used for crop research. It will provide space for students to conduct trials with different crop varieties, and serve as a key tool in developing food services in the lead up to Expo 2020.  

The host school will incorporate the research and communications program and represent Dubai as the central point of the initiative. As The One Acre Project expands its global reach, the network of farms becomes more diverse.  Students learn about the challenges and opportunities in other environments, and gain significant insight to the future of global food security.  Using communications technologies, students participate in cloud connected farming forums-- sharing knowledge, and collecting quantifiable data -- over time creating a formidable study. The study will encompass the social, economic, and nutritional impact of The One Acre Project.


Cropping Up Globally

reliable, localized farming

The One Acre Project builds on the meeting point of leading edge technology and small scale application, in environments where a lack of infrastructure has held communities back. This is a meeting point where exponential change happens at an incredible pace.

The One Acre Project will set up container farms in diverse communities around the world, creating a network of farmers each leading their communities into the future with new technology. Crop variety in each location will be tailored according to regional needs, ensuring a culturally appropriate harvest in each location.



    The developing world faces unprecedented challenges in nutrition and food security.  Rapid population expansion, pollution of air, water and soil, shortages of arable land and water, and vulnerability to erratic changes in food prices have created a vulnerable situation for billions of people. 

    In India, the caste system prevents the lowest caste from owning land. For the hundreds of millions of people affected by this ancient social system, the ability to grow food and create a local economy will provide an opportunity for real change.



    1. To address the significant challenges of population, pollution, land and water shortages in the food supply chain
    2. To demonstrate a scalable, sustainable economic development model
    3. To collect and document measurable evidence of social, economic, and nutritional impact 

    The National Geographic branded farm will be placed in a visually dynamic location and play a central role in community life, introducing technology and connectedness.


    Modern Remote Living - canada

    Residents of the traditional ranch lands in North America often face extreme weather with a short growing season, and long distance travel for many basic needs.  Lack of economic opportunities in rural areas has forced people to leave their lands and move to the city.

    A rapid change in lifestyle and food sources has affected the nutritional health of remote First Nations communities, leading to a significantly higher rate of diabetes and other nutrition related illnesses. Access to healthy food, nutrition education, and poverty are all contributing factors.

    The farm will offer a new view on rural living.  Implementing innovative food and communications technology creates opportunity for education and sustainable economy, sparking inspiration for remote, off-grid living as a viable modern lifestyle. 

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    1. To embrace modern farming and communications technologies
    2. To introducing a scalable, sustainable economic food production model in traditional ranchland regions
    3. To collect measurable evidence of social impact, economic opportunity, and nutritional change

    The juxtaposition of cutting edge farming techniques against the backdrop of traditional farming practices provide rich visuals and thoughtful conversation. 


    Disaster Relief - Jordan

    Jordan's water crisis is one of the worst in the world. Providing water for their own growing population, as well as basic services for the millions of displaced people in temporary shelters along the Syrian border is a monumental challenge. 

    According to a June 2017 UNHCR report, Jordan hosts the second highest number of refugees per 1,000 inhabitants in the world, 93 percent of whom are living under the poverty line. The UNHCR along with the Jordanian government have made major steps forward in dignifying the lives of refugees through the provision of renewable energy, healthcare programmes and community self-reliance opportunities.

    Container farms are easy to transport, and stackable to scale on demand. Steel construction offers farm security. With the support of a partnering organization, we will create appropriate programs to facilitate distribution of low-cost, fresh, nutritious food.  

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    1. To demonstrate a solution for fresh, sustainable, and secure food resources to high-density populations in refugee camps
    2. To address the logistical challenges of food security within disaster relief camps 
    3. To provide economic opportunity and community self reliance initiatives
    4. To collect measurable evidence of social, economic, and nutritional change in the community

    The National Geographic branded farm sparks curiosity and generates joy from within a desperate situation.  It illustrates the basic human need of fresh food.  Key story elements of the Disaster Relief Case Study include efficient harvest production, nutrition, and security.



    Expanding into Industry

    Farms Without Borders

    Partners directly involved in The One Acre Project and will gain valuable CSR exposure through participation.  They will host case studies within their own business sectors, as well as providing integral components of the initiative as a whole.  These partnerships point to the importance of collaboration in our modern, global economy. 

    VIDEO: Cargo



    Sustainability, technology, social awareness and positive change are all part of a great CSR initiative.

    The One Acre Project has identified the need for companies to invest in meaningful sustainability projects, and be able to leverage that investment for branding opportunities.  Sustainability projects and their results need to be authentic—in the age of global conversations, companies are being held accountable.  The One Acre Project is the ultimate CSR program, as it provides the sustainable initiative, the accompanying media content, and the exposure of all that National Geographic brings.

    The relatively short-term nature of setting up a freight farm to harvesting the first crop, as well as the tangibility and visual nature of the product makes it perfect for the story-telling element. The branding on the actual farm (graphics on the container) lends itself to effective imagery.

    Compelling CSR drives branding opportunities, fosters organic growth for the brand, and allows the company to lead the conversation. 


    The airline industry - emirates airlines

    The Dubai Airport is home to Emirates Airlines, one of the world's top carriers in terms of revenues, fleet size and passengers carried. Emirates has built a strong brand name as a leader in the aviation industry and has integrated a host of leading edge services and passenger experiences, setting new standards for international travel.


    1. To offer superior quality, locally and sustainably grown greens on in-flight menus while demonstrating a scalable commercial food production system
    2. To collect data on the economic and branding impact of the project
    3. To implement sustainable food production at commercial scale

    The One Acre Project aims to support an offer of the freshest greens possible to Emirates passengers.  Emirates Airline catering is done in a centralized, onsite airport building and will incorporate stackable farming units within their operations.  The project could start its initial program as a fine dining story in First Class, eventually scaling the operation to include all classes of service.

    *The One Acre Project creates a seamless exchange of visibility for both National Geographic and Emirates with outstanding branding opportunities from both storytelling and experiential standpoints.  The One Acre Project will be featured as branded inflight entertainment content, continuously updated and creating a following of the initiative throughout Emirates' global reach.  


    the Shipping industry - maersk

    Deprivation of fresh food has been a limiting factor since marine travel began, and access to fresh food remains a challenge in merchant ship kitchens even on modern long distance voyages.  Premature ripening of produce means the crew are often left with less-than-fresh produce which is often thrown away before being eaten.


    1. To introduce fresh food systems onboard container vessels, significantly contributing to crew health and wellness 
    2. To eliminate food waste, and highlight efficient use of fresh water
    3. To collect measurable evidence of social, economic, and nutritional impact as a result of the project

    The One Acre Project reimagines marine travel and solves a food challenge that has been inherent to long distance voyages for centuries.  The National Geographic farm will make its way around the world, continuously providing fresh greens for the ship's crew over the many weeks they are at sea. The project uses existing infrastructure on cargo ships, which are built to transport thousands of containers. Implementing this innovative technology is a seamless and significant leap forward in the global shipping industry.  

    *This project presents an opportunity to tell the story of technology solving a global health issue with a dynamic history.   The compelling visuals of the branded farm at sea can be leveraged by both Maersk and National Geographic.


    Scope and Scalability

    resilient growth

    The scope of The One Acre Project presents the story of both local growth and global reach as it connects diverse communities with common human aspirations.  It provides truly equitable opportunities to all types of people, all over the world.  The initiative fosters relationships and shared experience between students, entrepreneurs, small farmers, and big industries.  It speaks to our basic human need for fresh food and our growing desire to connect with each other.

    True scalability means that each community can respond to market growth as it happens.  The versatility of the harvest allows farmers to adapt to external changes such as seasonal or unexpected demand. Mobility means that the farm itself can be moved to respond to improved ideas or unforeseen circumstances.  It is a grassroots approach to solving a global crisis.

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    1. To create transformation at scale 
    2. To document local impact in each location, each story contributing to a global study 
    3. To support shared knowledge and experience through global connectivity

    The initiative itself is scalable, starting out with one unit in each case study.  It will follow organic growth of each community, providing insight into transformation of global food systems and resource management, and culminate in a comprehensive study of social entrepreneurship, resource management, health and food security.