The World’s First Floating Dairy Farm
Yes, that’s right, a floating dairy farm. And it will house 40 cows and be hurricane resistant.
When we first heard of the Floating Farm we thought we may have stumbled across an April Fool’s joke. The idea was so ambitious and out-of-the-box, it seemed too good to be true. However, the Floating Farm is real, under construction and set to become operational in 2019.
The Floating Farm came to life when two of the project leaders found themselves in Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Minke and Peter van Wingerden witnessed first-hand how quickly fresh produce ran out in the city as food delivery trucks struggled to reach their destinations.
The van Wingerden’s company, Beladon, teamed up with two other Dutch companies, Courage and Uit Je Eigen Stad, to combine water and farming technology and create the Floating Farm. Vertical and urban farms repurpose inner city land and buildings to produce food in close proximity to city residents. The Floating Farm also produces food in the city but does so in an area that is largely underused – the water.
How It Works
The Floating Farm is a high-tech facility currently being built on the water in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It has two levels:
· The bottom level houses the factory. Here grass is grown under LED lights, milk is processed, rainwater is purified, and manure and urine are processed. The bottom level also features an education and visitor centre.
· The middle level is where the cows live. It features real plants and trees as well as robots for feeding and milking the cows and cleaning up manure. The cows have access to dry land and an area of pasture via a gangplank.
The Floating Farm is designed for 40 Montbéliarde cows, delivering about 800 litres of milk a day.
Sustainability is one of the core principles of the Floating Farm and it uses an advanced circular system to produce milk and process waste. The milk produced by the cows is turned into dairy products, while their manure and urine are processed into fertilizer and energy. The fertilizer is used to grow more feed for the cows and their diet is supplemented by select waste products from the city’s restaurants, breweries and mills. Rainwater is harvested and purified by the farm to use as drinking water for the cows and solar panels can be found on the roof. In keeping with its origins, the Floating Farm is hurricane resistant and able to adapt to climate change.
Although the creators of the farm say their design is scalable, their intention is not to replace conventional farming operations. They are developing and exploring an alternative solution to food production in cities, developing new technology and helping to educate city-dwellers about the origins of their food. The Floating Farm also has the potential to be used for crop or chicken farming.
We look forward to seeing the Floating Farm in action!