Floating Farm feeds the city

In November 2016, the construction begins on Floating Farm – a living lab for alternative agriculture in the Port of Rotterdam. The benefits of food production close to the population it feeds are manifold. Above all, it reduces the distances solving logistic problems and increases opportunities to educate. Dutch developer, Peter van Wingerden devised the concept of Floating Farm together with two partners, Johan Bosman and Carel de Vries.

Floating Farm feeds city

Floating Farm

Image: Floating Farm video screenshot

The project is being carried out jointly by three companies: Courage, (innovation institute of the Dutch Agriculture and Dairy sector), Uit Je Eigen Stad (which translates as ‘from your own city’ a national frontrunner on city farming), and Beladon (leading Dutch company on Floating concepts).

The living lab will run for three years, during which time the focus will be on Development and Innovation, Fodder Production and Manure and Urine Treatment. By the end of the year, the farm will be producing food. Cows eating grass grown under LED lighting will give milk and nutrients will be recovered from their urine and energy generated from their manure. At the same time water will be purified.

Delta areas

Making the food chain less vulnerable reduces the burden on the environment, floating, high-tech farms are a solution. With the multiple use of space, fresh food (dairy) is produced in an animal-friendly and sustainable manner. Production becomes circular as the cycles of nutrients, energy and water are closed as much as possible. Cities in delta areas with a strategic location on the water and with waterways into the heart of the city are especially suitable for floating farms.

Health products

The planet consists of 70 percent water so it makes sense to combine expertise on maritime technology and agro-knowledge to make better use of the space available on the water. “The growing world populations are attracted to cities,” says Mr van Wingerden . “This increases the need for food in those areas. With a farm in the town or city, we capture that production deficit. Thus, we reduce not only the supply chain but also provide an educational function (particularly for children). Townspeople can come and pick fresh, healthy products.”

Scalable concept

Interest in Floating Farm across the world is high. China with its huge population, the US with its long distances and logistical challenges and densely populated areas like Singapore can all benefit from this scalable concept.

Holland – fertile ground for innovation

The Dutch have the character and attitude of reinvention. Its people have embraced new ideas and innovation, with an ethos of ‘boldly going where none has gone before’ and ‘making things happen.' We see it as crucial for economic growth, but moreover that it improves the well-being of society as a whole.  Still, we strive to instil integrated approaches and holistic vision in our industries, knowledge institutes and citizens toward finding innovative solutions within high-tech, logistics and agriculture to further secure the Netherlands leading international position in innovation and sustainability.