Three concrete floats are currently being constructed in a drydock that together form the foundations for the floating farm. The plan is that these floats are expected to be shipped to their definitive location in the Merwe4Haven in Rotterdam in the middle of May. However, over the course of developing this farm a few target dates have been shifted along the way, prolonging the final opening of the farm. The brains behind this bold move are from Courage, the innovation institute of the Dutch agriculture and dairy sector; Uit Je Eigen Stad, the national frontrunner on city farming and Beladon, a leading Dutch company on floating concepts.
Perfect scalable solution for cities
Peter van Wingerden is the project initiator on behalf of property developer Beladon. He says this is a real milestone for the project. “We are absolutely delighted that construction of the floating farm has now begun,” he said. “After all the preparations, this is an unprecedented milestone for everyone who has worked to get this project up and running. Building on water always brings additional challenges with it, although it offers us the opportunity to restore food production to the inner city at the same time. We believe that building on water is the way ahead in a country with a changing climate and ever increasing urbanisation. The floating farm is the perfect scalable solution for cities such as Rotterdam, with a lot of space on the water,” he explained.
Van Wingerden sees huge opportunities for this prototype all over the world. “We will be building with all due speed in the months ahead, so that we can welcome our first cattle later this year,” he added. Other benefits of such a system, close to urban populations, is reducing the distance that milk and other dairy products need to be transported to urban consumers, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and putting shoppers back in touch with nature and farming.
The cows will be able to use a ‘cow garden’ at the top of the structure, with a soft floor which will have the feel of a natural living environment. There will be trees and bushes available to offer areas of shade and the roof of the cow garden can be entirely opened.
Robots, LED lights and roof garden
Artist impression of the floating farm. The developers see huge opportunities for this prototype all over the world.
Benefits for the whole sector