By: Robert Harrington
Have you heard of ‘floating farms’ that can harvest sunlight and rainwater to grow 20 tons of vegetables every day – amounting to thousands of tons of vegetables every year?
Floating farms have been getting a big boost of late. With the extremes of drought and deluge occurring more frequently on every continent, floating farms are looking better by the day. Because they are multi-level and multi-purposeful, they possess much more flexibility than land-based farms.
“Inspired by Chinese floating fish farms, these rectangular units measure 200×350 meters and can connect with other modules via walkways. The usage of waterways is a great compliment to the farming industry because it makes farming available in so many more locations. It reduces the need to import food by localizing growth and incorporates rivers and lakes as viable ‘farmland.’
Each unit is comprised of three levels. The bottom floor focuses on aquaculture and water desalination; the first floor on hydroponic crop cultivation; and the roof is adorned with solar panels, skylights and rainwater collectors.
Each module is anticipated to make 8,152 tons of vegetables every year and bring in 1,703 tons of fish. The modules, then, connect into a grid and can scale up into huge farms, producing local food for entire cities.”
Those nations that have large populations living in overcrowded cities on the coastlines are benefiting the most from these solar-powered floating farms. Because so much food can be produced in a relatively small space that is close to the metropolitan areas, the cost of transportation is substantially reduced. The vegetables that are produced can be used while they’re still quite fresh since they don’t have to undergo a 5-day cross-country truck trip.
Likewise, many societies that rely heavily on seafood can feed large populations in these same high-density urban locales. Particularly for those coastal areas which have been suffering from over-fishing over the past few decades will these floating farms prove to be a boon. They have already demonstrated that they can produce tremendous amounts of fish from an efficiently managed fish farm.
With the steady acidification of the oceans of the world, marine life is beginning to suffer in many different ways. In many locations the seasonal catches are significantly lower than previously.
In some aquatic niche environments, which have traditionally provided certain types of seafood like oysters and scallops, pollution in the form of oil spills, mercury-laden industrial waste, and pesticide-saturated runoff has significantly degraded their quality.
Given a global population exceeding 7 billion people, the sprawling “megalopolis” is becoming a more common feature on coastlines in both the East and the West. As cities continue to grow vertically in both size and population density, their food needs are multiplying rapidly. Mobile floating farms will be utilized more frequently in the future to meet these ever-expanding needs.
Images sourced from: ForwardThinkingArchitecture