In China, Shanghai still remains the most populated city with its some 24 million inhabitants. In the middle of metal and glass skyscrapers, a project is emerging It is a very large project in eastern China that has just started and will see the light of day in 2018. It is an urban farm of more than 100 hectares for sustainable agriculture and food independence. Its main objective is to reorient a whole district towards urban agriculture! Read more
In Montreal, Quebec, volunteers are working towards edible streets. Now, residents can consume fruits and vegetables freely that grow almost in front of their doors. Read more
“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.
Can you imagine of the rearing of cows on water? This is a remarkable project of 2.5 million Euros by Rotterdam’s floating dairy farm aiming at reconnecting Rotterdam’s inhabitants with their food. Moored in the port of Rotterdam, the floating farm will be inaugurated in January 2017. Its 40 cows produce 1 200 liters of milk per day, processed and sold locally. (Article published in The Guardian by Senay Boztas, 4 July 2016) Read more
Facilitate the development of companies led by ambitious women by connecting them with more experienced counterparts. This is an initiative in Ireland called Going for Growth. This program won last year, the European Prize for the promotion of entrepreneurship in the category “Investment in business skills.” Read more
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
In the extreme heat conditions of Senegal, Mauritania and Mali, three countries affected by famine, an Italian scientist got a ‘crazy idea’ which has made it possible to cultivate durum wheat. It could thus increase the incomes of 1 million farming families, and has therefore won the US $ 50,000 2017 Olam Prize for Innovation for Food Security. Read more
Emmanuel Macron was elected President of the Republic of France after beating the extreme right candidate Marine Le Pen in a second round marked by a strong abstention. The independent centrist candidate of “En Marche”, 39, will become the eighth president of the Fifth Republic, the youngest in history, obtaining between 65.9% of votes against Marine Le Pen. He promised to bring together a torn France and to renew the ties between Europe and France, also building on a project of sustainable society headlining agriculture, environment, transport and energies. All in all Macron wants to double green energy (wind and solar) by 2022 and thus reduce the use of nuclear energy. A program that aims to make France “the world leader in research on the environmental transition”. Read more
Tessa Silva-Dawson, a design student at the Royal College of Art in London, is using cow’s milk to create a natural alternative to plastic. A product that does not use non-renewable sources and has the same performance as “bad” plastic, the one we are used to and which we produce from fossil fuels. 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.