Hamed Al Hamed is the owner of a high-tech agricultural company, but the first thing he planted as a child were three dirham coins in the hope they would bloom into a money tree.
When his father found the coins while working in his garden and removed them, Mr Al Hamed was angry and asked him why he had uprooted his own hidden treasure.
It was an experience in his formative years that would help sow the seeds of success.
“I told him this would grow into a money-tree bearing dirham notes,” said Mr Al Hamed.
“On that day, my father said I would grow up to be an entrepreneur.”
The words of his father proved prophetic.
Mr Al Hamed, 44, is now the owner of Abu Dhabi-based Gracia Farms, the first hydroponic farm in the Middle East.
The hi-tech facility uses a recirculating process which can grow any horticultural crop in water without the use of soil.
In July, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, toured the farms as he highlighted the need for home-grown food production.
"When Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed visited my farm, he gave me support," said Mr Al Hamed.
“Even as a child, I felt a connection with farming. Growing up, I was fond of writing poetry and I felt I could converse with nature, plants, and flowers,” said Mr Al Hamed.
“But, the question that always plagued me was 'Why don’t we have food security in the UAE?',” he said.
“I realised we needed a new model to help us get food security and to return farmers to their farms.
“After completing my masters degree in strategic leadership and change management at the Manchester Metropolitan university in UK in 2010, I started to think about the finer details in agriculture and thought of what we could do to improve our systems."
When he came back from the UK, he started work on a project to create awareness about agriculture.
“For us, loving agriculture is related to Sheikh Zayed as he was our role model and he loved nature and animals," he said.
When he received a plot of land as a gift from Sheikh Zayed, he was motivated to use it to help the country.
“That was the trigger that pushed me to really work in this sector. This is my way of paying back so that everyone can have food in their homes from the farms," he said.
Raised in a modest family, Mr Al Hamed attended a public school, Khalifa School, and was taught to be helpful, honest and respectful.
He always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur and worked on building his identity as a businessman from a young age.
"When I was a child, I would get an extra sandwich for lunch and would sell my sandwich to friends during the break," he said.
"My mother was surprised and thought I must have a big appetite to eat three sandwiches every day."
For Mr Hamed, establishing Gracia Farms brought together his love for farming and entrepreneurship.
He created a union with other farmers as wanted to improve the sector, and built the Gracia training centre so people could learn about farming methodologies, while working to educate others about the technology they used.
"Any farmer who came to us, we helped them solve their problems and we informed them of challenges while helping them the business model and business plan," he said.
They also help farmers select the best seeds and market their produce.
Now he is working on establishing Gracia Village in Abu Dhabi on a 120,000 square metre plot to attract agricultural tourists. Gracia Village is set to open in 2021.
"People need to return to nature. If you want to spend some time in the midst of nature, it is difficult to find a place," he said.
"Gracia Village will be an old-style village with a greenhouse, cottages, trees, and, plants, which will be open to everyone.
"We have many success stories in other areas and we if we put this goal in our minds, we can reach food security."