With an increasing global population and declining supply of arable land, growing enough food for everybody is only going to get more difficult. If the current growth trend continues, the global population is estimated to reach 9.6 billion by 2050.
To tackle the inevitable food security problem we’re going to face, we need to come up with sustainable farming methods that can increase food production while minimizing land use. The architects at Barcelona-based Forward Thinking Architecture may have found a viable solution: Smart Floating Farms (SFF).
Just one of these sustainable solar-powered floating gardens is estimated to produce 1,703 tons of fish and 8,152 tons of vegetables annually. That’s about 20 tons of vegetables a day from a facility that’s only 200 x 350 meters wide.
The farms are specially designed to make use of water bodies to save space and incorporate several sustainable farming methods like vertical farming technology, aquaculture, and hydroponics to produce organic produce cheaply using as little space as possible.
SFF modules have three levels: a ground level for desalination and aquaculture technologies; a first floor level for hydroponic crop cultivation; and a rooftop level with skylights, rainwater collectors, and solar panels.
The stacked design makes the modules easily scalable to fit the needs of the community. They would ideally be built on water bodies near urban communities to help reduce food miles and the carbon emissions produced when transporting food across long distances.
The farms are not meant to completely replace traditional farming, but instead serve as a flexible alternative for growing food without using soil. Hopefully the SFF will gain widespread adoption and provide us with the food security needed to cope with the coming global population boom.