The Sustainable Human Project: 365 days of only eating food sourced in The Sustainable City, Dubai

A resident of The Sustainable City (TSC), Dubai – the Middle East’s first fully-operational sustainable community, has vowed to sustain himself fully on food sourced exclusively inside the community for a full year.

Phil Dunn, a Canadian landscape architect, conceived this project during the time of lockdown restrictions, when issues of food security were brought to the fore. Mr. Dunn was responsible for the design and construction of the urban landscape in The Sustainable City, and he decided to put this landscape to the test over the course of one year to ascertain what it takes to eat produce solely sourced from within his neighbourhood urban environment with support from other residents.

There are several simple rules in place for The Sustainable Human Project: Mr. Dunn will grow fruits and vegetables such as onions, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs in community garden plots. Free-range chickens will provide him with eggs, and he will eat fish from a small fish farm inside one of the community biodomes. The missing elements in the food basket will come from a circular economic philosophy for which Mr. Dunn will repurpose scrap wood from construction into urban farming tools to be used in bartering with residents in exchange for other items such as grains, rice, proteins and oils.

When Mr. Dunn travels or is invited out for dinner, he will use the opportunity to spread the word about the amazing cultural diversity of over 80 different nationalities living in TSC.

Mr. Dunn said: “The Sustainable Human Project was conceived as a mixture of a personal challenge and an outward commitment to explore, educate, and engage with the important concepts of food security in the time of a pandemic, and a social sustainability ideal of how growing food together might also “grow” a community. The challenge of 365 days of eating only food grown in The Sustainable City (TSC) was one that I thought was crazy enough to keep me willfully striving, and just possible enough to perhaps, be completed.”

This entire process is monitored by The Chiron Clinic, located in TSC, who completed baseline medical tests before the challenge and will be tracking Mr. Dunn’s health throughout the year at regular intervals to ensure any nutritional issues are identified and addressed.