In 40 years, the world is expected to be the home of 9 billion people. Experts all agree to say that this will be a problem in terms of feeding, as climate change will cut as much as one quarter of crop yields by 2050. As we are facing such a threat of shortage, we have to come up with innovative solutions.
The Barcelona-based company Smart Floating Farms has come up with the idea of a floating farm, sustainable and solar-powered. The concept boasts a vertical farm floating on pontoons, making possible the growing of pretty much anything on open seas, off coasts or even on large lakes. The prototype is built on three levels all featuring innovative agriculture technologies that are already in use. These include hydroponics on the second level (a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water, without soil), aquaculture on the first level (the farming of aquatic organisms) and vertical farming (growing on vertically inclined surfaces). On the top level, rainwater can be collected to serve irrigation needs and photovoltaic panels are displayed to produce electricity. Openings are also provided to allow natural light on the crops. Wind power turbines and wave energy converter systems can also be used given the climatic conditions at seal, allowing the floating farms to be entirely independent in terms of energy consumption.
This solutions offers a number of undeniable advantages. First, it would allow countries with arid climates, causing their grounds to be non-arable, to grow their own food supplies. Then, it would dramatically reduce the costs of transport, since the crops would be just right next to the consumers. Last but not least, this model of floating farm is entirely sustainable and auto-sufficient, reducing the resources usually necessary to grow food crops. The design is ideal for large cities with an access to water. This is for instance the case of Los Angeles, Tokyo, New York, Singapore, Mumbai, Jakarta, Istanbul or Cairo.
As more and more people leave the countryside for cities, and with the climate change creating more and more arid grounds around the world, this innovative idea of a floating farm could well be one of our dramatically needed solutions to feed the world.