Crop One Holdings/Emirates Flight Catering ECO 1

ECO 1 is the world’s largest hydroponic vertical farm. The 300,000-square-foot facility, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, utilizes Crop One’s vertical farming technology and Plants First philosophy to produce over three tons of high-quality leafy greens daily, using 95% less water than conventionally grown produce.


Crop One Holdings and Emirates Flight Catering joint venture, ECO 1, is a commercial-scale vertical farm designed from best operational practices at Crop One’s headquarters in Massachusetts, USA. The project construction accelerated in 2020, amidst onboarding several new members to Crop One’s Digital Systems team. The team needed to learn, design, and refactor the software for the ECO 1 project, while also balancing headquarter commitments.


Crop One’s Vice President of Digital Systems, Derek Hui, had worked with Geisel Software previously. Knowing they were up for the challenge, he brought them onboard to scale and harden Crop One’s proprietary Farm Manager software from its original functionality deployed at the company’s headquarters in Millis, Massachusetts to a fully scaled commercial operation. The Crop One and Geisel teams worked together to build and deploy Farm Manager, a tool that controls and monitors thousands of pumps, valves, sensors, and switches in over 20 modular growth units. The system’s Data Browser tracks, stores and quickly retrieves the history of thousands different data points and signals, as often as every 30 seconds.

The Geisel team curated tools and processes to help support the Crop One growth strategy, including:

  • Stabilizing OPC-UA monitoring using the latest asynchronous technology and implementing extensive and descriptive logging to streamline future debugging and problem solving.
  • Improving API performance by more than 90% on the application’s status page and 24% on the controls page.
  • Upgrading libraries and packages to provide security risk fixes, new features, and community support.
  • Bringing up the testing suite including evaluating current testing patterns, building test examples and working with the team to add more tests to ensure long term stability and consistency.
  • Restructuring the relationship between Harvest objects to make it easier to conceptualize and implement new features.


The nine-month collaboration between Geisel Software and Crop One was a resounding success. Geisel Software worked with the Crop One team to identify and implement substantial improvements to the Farm Manager software and successfully deploy it to ECO 1.  Farm Manager software has been key to identifying and troubleshooting issues with the logic in PLC code and overall system at both Crop One’s Millis, Massachusetts headquarters and in Dubai at ECO 1.