In Brachoua, Morocco the locals just wanted to meet their food needs but, in the end, they did much more than that: a wonderful example of collective will which inspired photojournalist Stéphane Ferrer Yulianti. Read more
A supermarket in Berlin has set up a vertical farm inside its store. Since then, consumers are enjoying organic products at a low cost as there are no intermediaries in the production line.
“The imagination, give it the least license, dives deeper and soars higher than Nature goes”, rightly wrote the American essayist Henry David Thoreau.
Sergio Gamberini, the CEO of Italy’s Ocean Reef company, is the incarnation of this saying, having propelled imagination beyond limits to create Nemo’s Garden.
Who could imagine that one day we would be growing food crops under water? Sergio Gamberini, an Italian, did. Owner of two diving companies in Italy and California respectively, had the crazy idea to grow plants in the ocean while he was enjoying his holidays in Noli Bay, Italy.
And today, underwater cultivation is already regarded as a sustainable way to meet future food demands, especially in regions regularly stricken by droughts or where land is scarce.
The idea to try underwater cultivation sprouted in Sergio’s Gamberini’s mind as he wished diving to become a more interactive activity. His initial project was to anchor a type of flexible balloon containing a vase inside with a live plant, to the sea bed. To his amazement, the plant did not die and thrived.
The next step was to use the same method with seeds which sprouted in less than 36 hours. That was an incredible revelation to the Italian and urged the latter to carry out bigger projects. Today, as one takes the plunge in blue waters of Noli Bay, he is welcomed by not only bubbles of air, but a cluster of imposing spheres as well at about 10 metres below sea level.
This is Nemo’s Garden. The site, spreading over 15m2, is presently home to seven biospheres about the size of an average room each.
Inside each bubble, about 60 plants are growing, sustained by hydroponics and gravity-fed watering systems. A variety of 26 different types of plants have been thriving in these magical bubbles.
Basil, garlic, radishes, beans, cabbages and strawberries are some examples just to name a few.
Qualified divers tend to the produce that do not have the same requirements as those grown in soil. Sergio Gamberini, on his side, is of view that:
The sea is auto-sustainable, a free charger and warmer
At Noli Bay which is located in the Mediterranean, the water temperature does not fluctuate much, offering stability to the plants in terms of heat.
The sea water acts as a filter on its own, cutting off all unnecessary frequencies of light penetrating the ocean. Consequently, plants grown underwater are healthier and of highest quality. Flavours, smells and taste are more intense than those of plants grown on land.
The biospheres are the ideal greenhouses as no parasite can actually reach there. So, the need for pesticides or other chemical products does not even arise.
Natural evaporation turns into fresh water inside the spheres and systematically irrigates the plants. Experiments carried out have furthermore demonstrated that these plants grow faster than their counterparts on Earth.
Sergio Gamberini has been working with agricultural experts to improve the designs and lifespan of the spheres which have been patented.
His company holds a permit from the Government to operate for five months yearly, that is from May to September. The Italian is more than ready to scale up production.
Agri-Ethics reflect the moral commitment of all stakeholders in a network. From the farmer to the consumer, through the miller, industrial, baker, everyone can participate in this civic action. The motivations behind are to give a central role to the local farmers, remunerate their production to its “fair value”, and prove that globalization of food commodities are not inevitable.. Read more
Currently, the most organic conscious nation in the world is Denmark. Eight percent of all food sold is organic, with nuts, carrots and milk being the most popular products in 2014-2015, according to Organic Denmark — an association of companies, organic farmers and consumers. The organic agriculture is the way to go with our food, but let’s see why it’s about time to leave conventional farming behind.
We are more or less seven billion living humans on Earth — an alarming increase of 6 billion people in 200 years only. Thus, in a time of population eruption and environmental degradation, organic farming could be established as the most sustainable and healthy way to feed our species.
While the opponents of organic farming argue that the productivity of conventional farming is significantly higher, and at the same time requires less acres of land, Professor John Reganold of Soil Science and Agroecology at the Washington State University along with his team have found that yields are indeed increasing with non-organic farming but at the expense of our personal and our environment’s well being.
Organic agriculture takes a proactive approach, establishing an ecological balance while producing food. Along with the organic label comes a series of long term benefits and great accomplishments. More specifically, GMOs aren’t used intentionally in the production and processing of organic products. Pesticide-free lands attract new or re-colonising species, including wild flora and fauna, pollinators and predators, and reduce the risks of groundwater pollution. Overall, organic agriculture is a less polluting agricultural system, which promotes biodiversity and quality over quantity.
The number of organic farms is growing, as well as the awareness and demand from the consumer’s side, who are willing to pay more for organic products
As per Professor Reganold’s article in The Guardian, organic farming is also looking after its own people, who are provenly having access to more job opportunities, and are also having less exposure to unhealthy pesticides and hazardous chemicals. Eventually, organic agriculture has the potential to provide for Earth’s population for years and years, as long as public policies and private investments support and encourage conventional farmers to convert to organic methods.
Even though the global agricultural land occupies only 1%, we are heading towards the right direction. We see that the number of organic farms is growing, as well as the awareness and demand from the consumer’s side, who are willing to pay more for organic products — a price, which compensates farmers for preserving the quality of their land.
Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) in Kenya has undertaken a 10-year research showing that organic agriculture produces similar yields like the traditional methods but is more profitable. (Article published on the website of FiBL, June 30, 2016)