Maintaining food production near the city centers is expensive, but having it far away implies less fresh foods. How to solve this? With a floating farm. Learn more here.
A Floating Farm will be launched in January 2017 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. It is a platform floating at the sea, anchored in the harbour of the city. This farm is specialized in the production of milk and yogurts. The project is a result of a partnership between 3 country companies with complementary capabilities.
Inspiration came after Sandy hurricane, occurred in United States in 2012, in which the Americans realized how quickly the food could end up. After a disaster like this, if the delivery trucks have no access because the blocked roads, city can go through a serious food shortage crisis. Being close to the city, production is less vulnerable.
The farm is small, only 40 x 32 m, enough space for 40 cows that will generate around 1500 litres of milk daily. There is also the possibility of enlarging the space to accommodate up to 200 cows. The structure will consist of artificial grass and animal feed will grow in small spaces with the use of LED lights.
Animal urine is drained on the floor and then stored in airtight compartment. This will reduce ammonia emissions on the environment and will facilitate the distribution of this material as fertilizer for other urban farms. The dung will be collected separately and will pass through a bio-digester to generate biogas and compost. To top it off, the rain water will be used for the cows to drink and everything will be maintained with solar energy. The platform also will host a high-tech laboratory for research in food production and treatment of water and waste.
The initiative is very nice, but is not entirely new. Last year the architectural firm Foward Thinking Architecture, from Barcelona, Spain, published the design of the Smart Floating Farms, a floating farm on high seas to fish and vegetable production, but this has not yet left the paper.
For those interested, the company has franchising options for the concept expansion. However the experts doubt the forecasts of ROI for the enterprise. Despite being almost self-sufficient, the production capacity is small and can become a product for small market niches and not something to feed big cities. We need to wait to see.